Space plays a crucial role in Rabbit Hole, not only because of the places Lindsay-Abaire has chosen to depict, but also because of those he has chosen to omit. Rabbit Hole is defined by the places we do not see. Lindsay-Abaire confines the action to one house and, more specifically, three rooms within that house. We do not see Danny’s grave or the supermarket where Becca smacks a neglectful mother. We only see the characters within the confines of Howie and Becca’s home. The restricted quarters add an air of claustrophobia to the play, particularly for Howie and Becca. Nat and Izzy come and go, but Howie and Becca are forced to live in a house full of reminders of their emotional wounds. This is especially true for Becca, who reminds Howie that he at least gets to go to work, while she is trapped in the house virtually around the clock.
The kitchen in many ways serves as Becca’s domain. Throughout the play, she is shown in the process of cooking (most often desserts like crème caramel and lemon squares). The kitchen functions as a place where she can distract herself from her family’s turmoil. It also serves as the primary place of interaction with her mother and sister. In many ways, Howie is almost an outsider in this space, as evidenced by his peripheral role in Izzy’s birthday party. Tellingly, when Lindsay-Abaire offers a glimmer of hope at the end of the play, it is in Becca’s space.
Danny’s room is also significant because it is the most potent reminder of the child that used to live there. When Nat and Becca pack up Danny’s room, each is reminded of her lost child. Here again, Howie becomes the intruder when he checks in on them. His awkward interruption only underscores the idea that this place is defined by maternal loss.
The one space in the house where Howie is not presented as an outsider is in the living room. This is the place where Howie has his private “reunions” with...
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