Words by Leila Salter
Nina Raine’s play Rabbit, directed by Rachael Longshaw-Park at the Drama Studio in Auckland was a truly extraordinary experience. The performance encapsulated gripping narratives, laced with tactful humour, embodied with raw passionate human nature. The superb acting and inclusive set involved the audience in creating an intimate experience where there was no escape from becoming emotionally invested. The opening scene was bold and intense, shocking the audience and leaving them a little confused. This play causes you to hold your breath as you are stunned. The humour throughout was tasteful, never taking away from the moment, but given at the right time to provide a necessary release.
This play is intricate with co-existing story lines that means you’re kept on your toes with the constant twists and turns. Without giving anything away about the plot, this play is about Bella’s twenty-ninth birthday. She arranges friends and former lovers to meet at a bar to celebrate. This becomes a frenzy of energetic exploration as dialogues are shared and secrets revealed. Maybe the newly introduced friends have more in common than they thought?
There is fire and boldness in their interactions, yet the humanising, vulnerable sides of different characters also seeps into the performance. As this is all going on Bella is also dealing with other challenges close to her heart, adding complications as her friends are not all aware of this. The dots of brilliant quirkiness throughout the whole play were particularly enjoyable and taught a surprisingly fun amount of general knowledge.
This play left me feeling charged, alive, emotional and sensitive at the same time. The plot was fantastic, taking you in every direction possible. Overall I was left feeling whole but also contemplative from the real life subjects which arose. It was a fantastic break from the mundane conversations and controlled responses people can typically experience in those same real life situations. I felt fulfilled at the end of the play, filled with energy, passion and life.