Friday, September 2, 2011

WATCH Award Winner Rebecca Lenehan shares thoughts on Pulitzer winning play "Rabbit Hole"

 WATCH-award-winning actress Rebecca Lenehan, right, will portray "Nat" in the upcoming production of Rabbit Hole, a Pulitzer-Prize-winning drama by David Lindsay-Abaire

Rebecca Lenehan, a recipient of the Washington Area Theater Community Honors (WATCH) prize, took a moment to reflect on "Nat," the character she will portray in the Pulitzer-Prize-winning production of Rabbit Hole by David Lindsay-Abaire at the Little Theater of Alexandria.  

What attracted you to Rabbit Hole?
First of all it struck me as a very intelligent and brave play. The author David Lindsay-Abaire has written a story about a small family at an intersection - not only in their relationships within the family dynamic, but he went out on a limb and created a gutsy challenge for the actors as well.  Each of the characters are absolute individuals - each with their own history, and their own personal baggage - colliding within the tragedy they are trying to manage within the span of play with honesty and humor.  And that dysfunctional inter-dependency can be quite messy to navigate - but with an experienced director and actors to work with - I knew it would be a rich and rewarding experience for me. 

Is the role of Nat harder than others you’ve played?
Yes - particularly because I had to process the grief my character has endured to meet the unsentimental bar that is set in story.  It is very clear - it is in the lines, and the way in which my character Nat - expresses herself.  I fell in love with Nat because she has chosen to not pity herself or her children.  She is a simple woman, and she is so honest and outright hilarious when she tries to make a point because she makes no excuses for her lack of education or how the world works.  Most of all Nat has an inner strength that is so lovable, and so misunderstood.  That complexity makes her vulnerable to being hurt - and ever more tolerant and understanding as the play progresses.  It is my job to pilot that journey. 

What have you learned about yourself playing Nat?
Oh boy - that is tough to share, because for me as an actor a role like this never leaves you - it becomes so personal.  Nat inspires me to never give up - to press on and through whatever life throws at you.  Nat has reminded me that as long as we are really doing our best - there is hope.  Her faith to see past circumstances, tragedy, and accidents - is the little voice in the heart of this play.  As an actor Nat has taught me to look for the truth in the soul of a character - and begin there.

What do you want audiences to take away from this play?
My hope is that I have sparked someone's decision to return to their family, and begin again.  Humility fosters integrity.  I want Nat and the Rabbit Hole family to stir a desire to forgive - even if it is impossible to forget.              

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