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Play Analysis: The Rabbit Hole

Updated on December 10, 2010

The Rabbit Hole

The Rabbit Hole: Play Analysis

Plot Summary, Character Bio, and Theme Overview

Plot Summary

            The Rabbit Hole begins with Izzy describing a night out to her older sister Becca while she pours herself a glass of orange juice. In this particular night, Izzy is at a bar but not drinking when she begins to be verbally assaulted by an older woman there. The woman is claiming that Izzy had stolen her man. Izzy goes on to say that she felt threatened and that her only means of defense was to punch the woman. Becca begins to wonder the actual sobriety of her little sister that night and goes on to call her irresponsible and brings up a lost job at Applebee’s. Later, Izzy reveals that she is now dating the man she had been accused of at the bar, Auggie. Even worse, the true motive of all the anger from the woman at the bar was all because Izzy is pregnant with Auggie’s and her baby. Becca is hesitant at first but also thinks that this could be a page of a new story for Izzy. She offers her little sister baby clothes but Izzy doesn’t feel comfortable with it, it will be a girl anyway she says.

            Later that night Becca and her husband Howie are eating crème caramels and talking about Izzy’s newfound pregnancy. Howie keeps pouring Becca wine and dims the lights in an effort to set a certain mood but Becca refuses to pay it any mind. She speaks of Izzy’s baby and the possibility of giving her a bathroom set for her birthday. An argument eventually breaks out about how the two of them never have sex anymore. She feels that she is being imposed on then Howie suggests she see a therapist to which she is appalled. Then they bring up their dead baby, Danny, who was hit by a truck chasing after their dog. Becca goes upstairs and Howie watches old videos of Danny.

            A week later, everyone is at Izzy’s birthday and gifts are being given. The bathroom set puzzles Izzy but when Becca agrees she can take it back for more baby supplies, Izzy insists she keep it. The conversation is all well at first but then turns for the worst when discussing how fat Taz, the dog, has gotten while in Nat’s care which leads to another conversation about Danny. Becca’s mother, Nat, claims that their circumstances were similar as her son, Becca’s brother, had hung himself at age thirty as a heroin addict. Becca refuses to see any similarities. Howie then later mentions a letter from Jason Willette, the man who hit their son. In the letter he expresses sincere apathy for the situation but the reading is interrupted when Howie discovers Becca had accidentally taped over a video of Danny and he accuses her of doing so intentionally. Both are dealing with this loss in very different ways.

            Another week passes and Becca conspires to meet with Jason against Howie’s will. He is invited over and he begins to speak of parallel universes and rabbit holes in which to find another world. Tensions rise between Howie and Becca until finally they collapse and realize they only have each other to fall on. Becca asks what will happen next and Howie replies that they’ll figure it out.

Character Bios

            Becca is the older sister of Izzy while also being a daughter to Nat, a wife to Howie and the mother of her dead son Danny. Becca is plagued by the grief of her lost son and was not ready, psychologically, for this kind of trauma. She is a character who internally has much to say but stays quite until externally motivated by other characters. Howie, as well as being Becca’s comforting husband is also the biological father of their lost son Danny. He truly does his best to console his wife but he too has lost and it is rare for the grieving to effectively console the grieving but they shared a love for their son so strong that nothing could tear them from one another.

             Izzy, as well as being Becca’s sister is also a daughter to Nat and, as of recently is Auggie’s newfound girlfriend. She is a rambunctious, younger character but not afraid to speak her mind! Auggie is not only a boyfriend to Izzy but also the father of her unborn child making Nat a grandma once again. Nat, as well as being mother to Becca and Izzy, was also mother to another, a son, who killed himself in his thirties after passing years as a heroin addict.

             Jason is the man who killed Danny, son of Becca and Howie, and he sincerely wishes better for this family and knows he has wronged them further than what he may be able to repair but tries anyway with talk of parallel universes, The Rabbit Hole.

Theme Overview

            Nothing is exempt from change. The only way we can protect ourselves is not to hide behind ourselves behind shut doors and ignore the world around us while we sulk in our own grief but rather we should welcome the world and all it has to offer with open arms and when tragedy occurs, make ourselves more able to cope with these things and comfort others when hard times befall hem. Come what may, if you are able to feel grief then you are still alive and one should see this as a great happiness for once one is dead they would not have the option to waste their life in grief. As sad as this play is, the message it conveys in its theme says not to let ourselves fall into this very same labyrinth of mourning. 


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