BREWER, Maine — Randy Hunt read about a dozen plays in the past year, searching for the right one to choose for his directorial debut for Ten Bucks Theatre.
In the end, the play he chose was David Lindsay-Abaire’s “Rabbit Hole,” the 2006 play that won the Pulitzer Prize the following year. “Rabbit Hole” is a deeply emotional story about how a family deals with death, mixing stirring drama with mordant humor. “Rabbit Hole” opens Thursday, Nov. 1 at Comins Hall in Eddington.
“Out of all the scripts I read, this was the one that hit me in a way that nothing else did,” said Hunt, a Brewer native, last seen onstage in Ten Bucks’ “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” this past summer. “The feeling of loss and of how two people can handle it so differently just touched an emotional spot for me that I can’t even put into words. There haven’t been many rehearsals where I haven’t found a tug on my heart.”
The play centers around the couple Becca (Tracy Green) and Howie (Ben Laymen), who lose their 4-year-old son, Danny, in a tragic accident. Becca’s sister, Izzy (Sabrina Wirey) and mother, Nat (Julie Lisnet) try to help, while 17-year-old Jason (Logan Bard) tries to cope with the fact that he was the one driving the car that killed their son.
“It’s a balancing act,” said Hunt. “There are very heavy parts that really pull on you, but there’s a lot of fun and humor in it, as well. You come away from it with a glimmer of hope.”
Hunt is a relative newcomer to the theater scene in eastern Maine; he began acting with Bangor Community Theater just three years ago, and joined Ten Bucks Theatre last year, as Big Chief in its production of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” In a short amount of time, he has totally immersed himself in all aspects of theater — first acting, now directing.
“About 20 or so years ago, I started going to Penobscot Theatre shows, and secretly wanting to be a part of it,” said Hunt, who is a computer consultant for Dead River Associates where he has worked for 17 years. “But I was just getting into my career, and just never found a place to plug in. This was before the Internet, so if you didn’t know people, you just didn’t know where to go. But a few years ago I finally fell in with the right people, and I’m finally getting to do it. I’m happier now than I’ve ever been.”
Hunt has been in every production Ten Bucks has done in the past year, and has worked closely with Julie Lisnet and Ben Laymen — both of whom have directed and acted in a number of plays in the area — to learn some of the tricks of the trade.
“I’ve watched everything really closely, just trying to learn as much as I possibly can. They’ve been great mentors,” he said. “I’ve really gone in gung-ho.”
“Rabbit Hole” will be performed at 7 p.m. Nov. 1-3 and Nov. 8-10, and at 2 p.m. Nov. 4 and 11, at Comins Hall (the Eddington-Clifton Civic Center) on Route 9 in Eddington. Tickets are $10 at the door, cash or checks only. For information, visit Ten Bucks Theatre on Facebook.