Last Friday night I drove north to Clay Terrace shopping center in Carmel, Indiana, to see the inaugural production of the 16-year-old, all-volunteer Carmel Community Players in their new space, the Carmel Community Playhouse.
It was a thrilling experience, not only because the new space is so nifty but also because the acting in this particular production is exceptional. And by “exceptional acting” I don’t just mean in terms of community theatre. The acting, especially the pacing, in this show is excellent by anyone’s standards.
The show is “Rabbit Hole,” David Lindsey-Abaire’s 2007 Pulitzer Prize winner. It is a moving, thought-provoking, even surprising and funny piece about the changing dynamics in a family that has lost a young boy to a traffic accident. Ken Klingenmeier directed it for the Carmel Community Players. Lori Raffel produced it and designed the programs and posters for it. Donna Klingenmeier is the stage manager.
I have seen and loved two professional productions of this piece – first at the Curious Theatre in Denver, Colorado and more recently at our own Indiana Repertory Theatre in downtown Indianapolis. Both of those theatres are relatively large. CCP’s new space is smallish and quite intimate. This means that the set (which was designed, built, and decorated by the director) feels more like an apartment than a huge suburban house, but both the humor and the pain in the interactions of the characters feel more personal. We feel even more powerfully how much they all love each other and yet how distanced they are from each other emotionally now, even when they are physically close to each other.