|Jay McNeill as Howie and Laurel Stroud as Becca try to reconnect as a couple|
A rabbit warren is a series of connected tunnels that rabbit communities live in for shelter from the outside world. In Rabbit Hole, a family bound together by tragedy struggles to reconnect and to find emotional shelter. The depths of each person’s own sorrow makes it hard for them to comfort one another. But while no one lives “happily ever after” in Rabbit Hole, ultimately, it is these family ties that enable life to go on.
Jay McNeill plays Howie, a New York City banker whose four-year old son Danny was killed in an accident eight months earlier. Jay sees Howie as “the most level-headed person in the family after the accident, while everyone else is seemingly going off the rails. I find strength in a local support group for grieving parents and try to keep the memories of my son as fresh as possible.” His wife Becca, played by Laurel Stroud, grieves very differently from Howie by trying to repress some of the daily reminders of their son, and this creates conflict between the couple.
While the play is generally restrained, Jay says that Howie and Becca have one “extremely emotional scene that is gut-wrenching. It's difficult to rehearse and play out again and again and keep the emotion fresh and real.” Unfortunately, Jay has had a recent loss that he can draw on as an actor: “My life up until last year was remarkably untouched by death. But in the spring we lost my brother at a young age and that experience certainly helps me relate to the characters in this play. There's one scene where my mother-in-law Nat is explaining how the death of a loved one never really goes away and she's exactly right. Even in life's most joyous moments thoughts of my brother are never really far from my mind.”
Jay also relate to his character’s personality, saying, “Howie and I are remarkably similar. He tends to be a little more on the flip and sarcastic side of things, which I like because I'm that way much of the time with my friends and the people I'm most comfortable with. Also, I am an accountant and have spent most of my career in finance-related activities. I lived in New York and worked on Wall Street for eight years so playing this character is certainly not a stretch for me.”
While Howie’s character comes naturally to Jay, this is his first show as an actor since high school almost 25 years ago. He says, “It's been a lot of fun to get back into the swing of things. My fellow cast mates have been great, and our director Brian Tupper has been fantastic with his suggestions to fill out our characters and maximize our performances. It should be a great show.”
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.