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Pulitzer gives boost to 'Rabbit Hole'

The announcement this week that "Rabbit Hole" won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in Drama has spurred more ticket sales for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's production of the play.

Ticket sales had been relatively slow for David Lindsay-Abaire's portrait of a couple dealing with the death of their four-year-old son.

OSF officials learned of the award on Monday, when it was announced.

" the end of the afternoon, people were calling who had already ordered other tickets and they were adding tickets to see 'Rabbit Hole.' We saw an almost immediate reaction," said OSF Media Relations Associate Eddie Wallace.

"Rabbit Hole" opened in the intimate New Theatre in February, and so far, has been at 73 percent of capacity, according to OSF figures.

Meanwhile, a new musical, "Tracy's Tiger," opened in March and has been at 100 percent of capacity in the New Theatre.

In the larger Angus Bowmer Theatre, William Shakespeare's "As You Like It" has been at 90 percent of capacity, the comedy "On the Razzle" has been at 88 percent of capacity and Anton Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard" has been at 72 percent of capacity.

Wallace said OSF has updated its Web site to show that "Rabbit Hole" won a Pulitzer Prize and will be notifying members of the award via e-mail.

"Sometimes the subject matter does give people pause," he said. "Now if they see it's won a Pulitzer Prize, they might say, 'It must be worth seeing.' We're hoping this will get people over the decision hurdle."

Lindsay-Abaire has said he wrote the play to explore his deepest fear &

losing a child.

Humor is woven throughout the play in a way that never trivializes the difficult issue, but instead makes the characters likable and human. At the same time, petty arguments like those heard in most families can &

with one thoughtless remark &

veer into emotionally raw and painful territory. In tender scenes, the characters grope, and sometimes fail, to reconnect.

James Edmondson, who directs OSF's production of "Rabbit Hole," said he hopes news of the playwright's Pulitzer Prize will convince people to overcome their fears of seeing the play.

"It's so much bigger than the subject matter. So many great plays are," he said. "If you first heard a description of 'Hamlet' or 'Romeo and Juliet,' it sounds like something you would not want to see."

Edmondson said the play is deserving of the award because it is never sentimental and does not try to give answers about how to deal with grief and guilt.

"In many ways, it's hopeful &

but not easily hopeful. I don't think our little steps ever are. Nobody hands us solutions to our dilemmas. We just get better at dealing with life," he said. "It's a great recognition for a great writer."

OSF produced another work by Lindsay-Abaire, "Fuddy Meers," in 2001. His plays have been performed across the nation.

In an interview this week with TheaterMania.com, he said, "I have no idea how this will change my life, though I imagine my obituary will now be different. I am just going to keep doing work. But I don't see any downside to being a Pulitzer winner."

Lindsay-Abaire is working on a screenplay for a movie version of "Rabbit Hole" which will star Nicole Kidman, TheaterMania.com reported.

For more information on "Rabbit Hole," visit the OSF Web site at . For information on other 2007 Pulitzer Prize winners, visit .

Staff writer can be reached at 479-8199 or vlaldous@yahoo.com. To post an on-line comment, visit .