|Cynthia Tupper (seated) plays Nat, mother to Laurel Stroud's Becca|
It’s been almost four years since she’s been onstage, but Cynthia Tupper is certainly no stranger to the Barn. In addition to directing a dozen shows (starting with Pajama Game in 1984, and most recently The Producers in 2011), Cynthia has designed and created costumes for 59 shows, has been a cast member in 28 shows, produced 7 shows, and was a long-time Board member and former President of the Farmington Players. Despite all that experience, Cynthia says that her role in Rabbit Hole – as Nat, the grandmother – is “very different than anything else I have done. I always love the challenge to transform physically and emotionally into another character who is nothing like me.” What’s not different is the chance to work with her husband Brian, who is directing this show. Cynthia says, “Brian and I enjoy a history of collaborating together when we each direct. I may be biased but he is one of our best directors and I also love creating a character with him. When either one of us is directing, we never stop talking about the show during the process!”
Cynthia’s role as Nat is complex in that both Nat and her daughter Becca had sons that died unexpectedly. As Cynthia says, “Nat feels great sympathy for her daughter, but her attempts to comfort her daughter fall short and seem to make things worse most of the time. Nat is also very outspoken and blunt and her opinions and suggestions always seem to hit a nerve with her daughter, even though there is a deep love between them and they are very different on the surface.” Cynthia does a great job of making Nat real, and not a caricature. As she says, “the beauty of Nat is that she does provide some of the comic relief, but she is counter balanced with sensitivity and pathos even when you don’t expect it with her brash personality. It’s a fine line to balance, but like most people she has good qualities and bad qualities, but the positive outweighs the negative and she is mostly likeable. Although you can understand why she drives her daughters crazy!”
While Rabbit Hole is a poignant drama, Cynthia thinks “people will be surprised that the show is uplifting and funny and reflects a part of life that we all can relate to. At many points in our lives, we all deal with loss and grieving. There is no right way to grieve. All five characters deal with it differently – it changes them – but they learn to go on and not judge each other. Life goes on as it should.”
Rabbit Hole runs from February 15th to March 2nd at the Barn Theater, 32332 West Twelve Mile Road, Farmington Hills. Reserved seats for this drama sponsored by the Center for Financial Planning, Inc. are available now at www.farmingtonplayers.org or at the box office (248) 553-2955.