Starting this week, Falcon Theater will be presenting the Pulitzer Prize winning play Rabbit Hole by David Lindsay-Abaire. I had a chance to talk to Ted Weil, Falcon’s Artistic Director, who is getting a rare chance to trod the boards by acting in this production.
Alan: You could have chosen any number of plays for this slot in your season. So why Rabbit Hole?
Ted: I’ve always loved this show since it came out on Broadway 2006. It is a slice of life play calling for a hyper-realistic acting style. In shows like this, nothing is heightened—except for the subject matter.
Alan: Speaking of subject matter, Rabbit Hole deals with a topic most people would chose not to thing about—the death of a child from a senseless accident. Will the subject matter act as a turnoff for some audience members?
Ted: It might if we were showing the immediate effect of the accident. Insteada, Rabbit Hole takes place months and months after the accident. The play explores the reactions of each of the characters to the trauma of the experience after the initial shock has worn off. We see them trying to find a new normal after the event. This is what drew me to this play: it does not offer a formula for grief. Everyone deals with their grief in their own personal manner. The play becomes more of an ensemble piece as each character’s grief works off the other characters’ grief.
Alan: So audiences will not feel depressed when they see it?
Ted: Audiences will be affected by the play and it will hit people in different ways. However, there is no need to pass out razor blades at the door. This play is meant to be open-ended, not trying to solve all the problems of the characters by play’s close. We hope that people will feel like they have not been told a story, but more like they’ve been led into some people’s lives for a few hours.
Alan: So you are playing the role of Howie, the father dealing with his child’s death. It’s been a while since we’ve seen you on stage.
Ted: The last time I acted for Falcon was in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest [March-April 2014]. It’s been a while.
Alan: What has been your biggest challenge in playing the role of Howie?
Ted: Some of Howie’s anger I have found difficult to master. We see him getting very very angry and I have to find ways to get to that place. I myself have a long fuse, so it is a challenge for me to explode in the way that Howie explodes.
Alan: Since you are acting with other people, what is it like working together as an ensemble?
Ted: There is no room for error for something so real. It has to sound conversational, but you have to keep the dialogue among the characters from becoming boring. It is easy to have this play run slow. During last week’s rehearsal, we’ve hit our stride and the play is both conversational and flowing, it’s going at the right clip.
Alan: Anything else you want to tell our readers?
Ted: See this show! It is going to be one of Falcon’s must-see productions. The cast is strong and we work together to produce a moving evening of theater.
Rabbit Hole runs weekends March 24 to April 8, 2017 at their theater on 626 Monmouth Street in Newport, Kentucky. Visit the Falcon website for times and ticket information: http://falcontheater.net/