Rabbit Hole: Play Summary & Study Guide

David Lindsay-Abaire
This Study Guide consists of approximately 40 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Rabbit Hole.
This section contains 694 words
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Rabbit Hole: Play Summary & Study Guide Description

Rabbit Hole: Play Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on Rabbit Hole: Play by David Lindsay-Abaire.

The following version of this play was used to create this study guide: Lindsay-Abaire, David. Rabbit Hole. Dramatists Play Services Inc. 2006.

The play opens in Larchmont, New York. Becca Corbett folds laundry at the kitchen table while talking with her younger sister Izzy. After a dramatic retelling of Izzy’s recent bar fight, Becca learns that her sister is pregnant by a musician named Auggie. This is made more complicated once it is revealed that Becca recently suffered the loss of her four-year-old son, Danny.

The second scene further highlights Becca’s frustration with Izzy. She views her younger sister as irresponsible and proceeds to complain to her husband, Howie, about the newfound information. Throughout the scene Becca rambles on about her never ending "to do" list, as Howie does his best to help his wife relax. He hopes that they might share a romantic evening after having not been intimate for the past eight months. Becca recognizes his advances and becomes irritated. Their conversation eventually evolves and Becca asks for the couple to move from their home; it holds too many memories of their lost son. As Becca goes to bed, Howie begins to watch an old home movie of Danny.

Scene three opens with Becca, Izzy, and Nat (their mother) at Izzy’s birthday celebration. Howie joins shortly thereafter and the conversation quickly shifts from a lighthearted debated about the Kennedy family to Danny’s death. Having also lost a son, Nat gives unsolicited advice on how to cope. The comparison of Nat’s 30-year-old son committing suicide to a four-year-old being hit by a car upsets Becca and she storms out of the party.

Later that night Becca finds herself in Danny’s room, a place she does not visit often. She pulls out a letter written by Jason Willette, the 17-year-old boy who drove the car that killed Danny. Jason has reached out to the Corbetts with his condolences and requests permission to dedicate a short story he wrote to their son. This moment is interrupted when Howie calls for Becca. She accidentally recorded over one of Danny’s home movies the night before. The couple begins to argue and the tension between them grows as Act One comes to a close.

The second act begins with Howie and Izzy at an open house as the Corbett’s attempt to sell their home. They casually talk about the families that have visited, when Izzy confronts Howie: her friend Reema saw him holding hands with another woman. They begin to argue as Nat and Becca enter. The two women have returned from the grocery store, where Becca was in a physical altercation with a woman. The family is discussing this conflict when Jason knocks on the door. Howie does not respond well to Jason’s presence and after an awkward conversation, Jason leaves.

The following scene takes place in Danny’s room. Nat and Becca are going through his belongings discussing which ones to keep and which to throw out. The women discuss life after the loss of a child. It seems that they have finally begun to reach an understanding.

A few days later Becca meets with Jason. As he retells the accident from his perspective, it is clear that the 17-year-old is filled with remorse. Becca assures him that they do not blame him for what happened that day, and the two finish up their meeting by discussing his short story.

The final scene of the play begins with Becca, Izzy, and Nat clearing out Danny’s boxes. Howie comes home as Nat and Izzy leave. The couple discusses what it would look like to rebuild the friendships that have dissipated since Danny’s death. The journey of re-engaging with the world after this personal tragedy is terrifying, but they agree to face these challenges together.


Rabbit Hole premiered at the Biltmore Theatre on January 12, 2006. It was produced by Manhattan Theatre Club and directed by Daniel Sullivan. The following actors originated the characters in David Lindsay-Abaire's play.

Becca - Cynthia Nixon

Izzy - Mary Catherine Garrison

Howie - John Slattery

Nat - Tyne Daly

Jason - John Gallagher Jr.

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