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'Rabbit Hole,' a searing drama at Hampton Theatre

Diana Marbury, Birgitta Millard and Abbi Hawk in

Diana Marbury, Birgitta Millard and Abbi Hawk in "Rabbit Hole," a Hampton Theatre Company production at Quogue Community Hall through Nov. 7, 2010. Photo Credit: Hampton Theatre Company Photo

When the lights go up on the fractured domesticity of David Lindsay-Abaire's Pulitzer Prize-winning play "Rabbit Hole," you don't need dialogue to spell it out. A loved one has died.

As directed by Sarah Hunnewell for the Hampton Theatre Company, Birgitta Millard emanates a mother's grief. Hollow eyes and voice. Resigned body language. Becca is folding tiny clothes. Danny, her 4-year-old son, was hit by a car as he chased his dog. Becca's wild sister, Izzy (Abbi Hawk), struggles with her news: She's pregnant.

Becca methodically erases reminders of Danny from the house she shares with husband Howie, who handles grief very differently. He watches family video of Danny. Steve Ayle plays Howie as if he were tiptoeing around his wife's hurt for fear of tearing its scab. Becca and Izzy's mom, bravely played by Diana Marbury, doesn't believe in hiding feelings. She puts death on the table with talk of the "Kennedy curse" and her adult son's suicide.

As Danny's room is stripped of toddler things, Becca asks her mom, "Does it ever go away?" The hurt? We know the answer even before Becca meets Jason, the young driver who swerved to miss the dog. Jason's story about a "rabbit hole" that connects parallel universes is dedicated to Danny. Ben Schnickel conveys the teen's guilt over driving 32 in a 30 zone.

James Ewing and Marbury's set, with gloomy lighting by Sebastian Paczynski, creates a sixth character - a home that doesn't look lived in. Because it isn't, really.

WHAT: "Rabbit Hole" by David Lindsay-Abaire

WHEN | WHERE: Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2:30 p.m. through Nov. 7, Hampton Theatre Company at Quogue Community Hall, 126 Jessup Ave.

INFO: $25, senior and student discounts except on Saturdays;, 631-653-8955


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