‘Rabbit Hole’ opens run at Players Guild of Dearborn

Photo by Sue Suchyta
Jeff Flannery (left) of Southgate as Howie and Sarah Zakaria of Dearborn as Becca rehearse a scene from David Lindsay-Abaire’s “Rabbit Hole,” the recipient of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, at the Players Guild of Dearborn, 21730 Madison. For tickets or more information call 313-561-TKTS or go to www.playersguildofdearborn.org.

David Lindsay-Abaire’s “Rabbit Hole” opens a three-weekend run March 7 at the Players Guild of Dearborn.

Directed by Lindel Salow, the show, the recipient of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, explores how family members deal with loss, with comic moments interspersed within the drama.

The cast includes Sarah Zakaria of Dearborn as Becca, Jeff Flannery of Southgate as Howie, Kori Bielaniec of Westland as Izzy, Roberta Shortt of Livonia as Nat and Kevin Talanges of Dearborn as Jason.

Salow said he was eager to direct a relatively new play at the Guild. In addition to the challenges presented by the set design, he said getting his cast to present grief without it becoming overbearing provided a challenge as well.

“When you are talking about grief, it frightens people, because it is an emotion we don’t like to bear, especially in front of other people,” Salow said. “Oftentimes it can just go off the deep end.”

He said his cast is awesome, and they are working hard to formulate their characters and put together a wonderful show.

Bielaniec, who plays Izzy, an unwed and well-meaning but irresponsible younger sister, said her character is very different from other roles she has played at the Guild in the past eight years.

“She’s a brassy broad, a little more rough around the edges,” Bielaniec said. “That is different from what I usually play, which is giggly and bubbly and fun.”

She said that while the show is about people going through a grieving process, it is something to which others can relate.

“This gives you a different look on that, and there are plenty of funny moments,” Bielaniec said. “Izzy provides some of them.”

Zakaria, who plays Becca, Izzy’s steady, responsible older sister, said she likes her character’s complexities.

She said she is telling friends and family that the show is a great drama that will make them think.

“I think that everyone has experienced some heartache and loss in their life,” Zakaria said. “I think loss in general is relatable to everyone, no matter what aspect it is.

“I think that there are just tender moments and some snappy comebacks,” Zakaria said. “Families know each other, and they make fun of each other and it can be kind of funny at times.”

Flannery, who plays Howie, Becca’s husband, said he was attracted to the role because it demanded variations and emotions he never has had to portray before. He said he has played anger and fear, but never sadness or true human anger.

He said after reading the script he knew he wanted to be in the show.

“It’s very thoughtful, and it is very thought-inspiring,” Flannery said. “It’s a very intelligent script. It is not all spelled out for you. There is a lot of things that the audience can watch and listen for and pick up on, and there is a lot of things they will miss if they don’t listen. It is a very intelligent show, so you have to pay attention.”

Talanges, who plays Jason, said he has had to draw on emotions from times when he has hurt people to portray his character, which he describes as a difficult role that is challenging his acting ability.

“It is a very sweet story, with some heartbreak in it,” Talanges said. “I have dealt with this kind of grief in life, but not this deep before, and hurting an entire family is different from hurting one person.”

Assistant director Shardai Davis said people should come see the show because it is real and will make you feel emotion.

“You will go through the journey with the characters,” Davis said. “All of the actors have been working super hard on making it as real as possible and not melodramatic.”

She realizes that some people will see the show as a very sad play, but despite its theme, she said there is a lot of laughter.

“I feel that the audience should feel free to laugh at the moments that are funny,” Davis said. “They have a lot of good one-liners that lighten up all of the drama in the play.”

“Rabbit Hole” received five 2006 Tony Award nominations, including Best Play, and earned a Tony Award for Cynthia Nixon for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play.

For tickets or more information call 313-561-TKTS or go to www.playersguildofdearborn.org.

Wyandotte Community Theatre presents Bernard Slade’s romantic comedy “Same Time, Next Year” March 7, 8, 14 and 15 at the Desana Center for Arts and Culture, 81 Chestnut St. in Wyandotte.

The plot focuses on two people, married to others, who meet for a romantic tryst once a year for 24 years.

Each of the six scenes are separated by five years, and take place in 1951, 1956, 1961, 1965, 1970, and 1975 at a seaside cottage in California.

George, a New Jersey accountant, and Doris, a housewife from California, agree to meet once a year, even though both are married to others and have six children between them.

Over 24 years, they develop a deep bond, discussing the births, deaths, and marital problems each is experiencing at home, while they change along with the social changes affecting their lives.

Directed by Nick Mullins, the show stars Kevin Bencik as George and Jessica Gutowski as Doris.

For more information call 734-775-9635 or go to wyandottecommunitytheatre.com.

Auditions for Wyandotte Community Theatre’s production of “Bingo! The Winning Musical” run 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at the James Desana Center for Arts and Culture, 81 Chestnut St. in Wyandotte.

Those auditioning should bring a prepared song, and will do cold readings from the script. The cast features roles for six women and one man, and runs May 9, 10, 16 and 17 at the Desana Center.

The show features book by Michael Heitzman and Ilene Reid, and music and lyrics by Heitzman, Reid and David Holcenberg.

The show, a small musical with a big heart, focuses on a group of die-hard bingo players who encounter love and forgiveness amid competition and ritual.

For more information call 734-775-9635 or go to wyandottecommunitytheatre.com.