The BlogAugust 10, 2019
Actor Spotlight: Courtney DeGennaro Robinson
Courtney DeGennaro Robinson makes her first appearance at ACT in Rabbit Hole. She has most recently appeared on stage as Grace in the off-Broadway production of Starbright, Ricky Roma in Glengarry Glen Ross, Sam Fried in Coyote on a Fence, and Cecily Cardew in The Importance of Being Earnest. When not onstage, she is an avid knitter, bookworm, and baker of French macarons.
Name: Courtney DeGennaro Robinson
Character in Rabbit Hole: Becca
Hobbies and Interests: Baking French Macaroons, hiking, knitting, and reading
Why should you come and see a play like Rabbit Hole? The magic of the theatre allows us to experience lives outside our own as we invest in the characters onstage. This play, in particular, gives us a window into an experience that we all hope never to have. Rabbit Hole fosters empathy for those who are suffering, and reminds us that grief is not something that goes away neatly or quickly, nor is it a permanent state of being. There is always hope and light, and life, if we choose to find it.
What is the hardest part about playing your character? Becca has suffered an unbelievable loss, and she is in indescribable pain, but she doesn’t spend the entire play wailing and crying. It would be easier to just feel and release those emotions. Instead, I’ve had to generate that enormous sense of suffering and bury it just beneath the surface, so that it can eke out a bit when the circumstances of the show require it. It’s not easy, but it’s necessary.
Can you name some of the major recurring emotions you felt throughout the rehearsal process for Rabbit Hole? As odd as it may sound, there was a lot of joy in the rehearsal process. My cast mates and I bonded quickly, and we share a lot of laughs backstage. This show requires a lot of vulnerability and intimacy, and we’ve really leaned into our trust for one another to balance the pain of the deep emotions we’re exploring with care and affection for one other. I couldn’t have asked for a better group to go through this process with.
What is, in your opinion, the most important moment in the play? What about this moment makes it special? The turning point for my character is her conversation with Jason Willette, the young man who accidentally killed her child. When Jason tells Becca about the concept of parallel universes, parallel lives, she realizes that every moment provides her a chance to make a choice. It’s an essential moment for the character whose grief has frozen and isolated her.
Have you struggled at all working on such a heavy and potentially sad play? If so, how were you able to remain positive? This play has been emotionally exhausting, to be sure, but it’s also served as a really wonderful reminder that there’s always hope to be found, even in the darkest of times. I’ve remained positive by focusing on all the light there is in the world. Oh, and cannoli.
What do you feel is the most important message of your character, and what can it teach other people? I see Becca as a prime example of how much we all need one another. Her loss makes her turn inward, and she thinks that her pain is so unique and solitary that there is no comfort available, in spite of those who love her doing their best to give it to her. Her journey has reminded me to always create space for love and compassion and care, both as a giver and a receiver. That said, I think one of the most beautiful things about this play is that everyone will watch Becca’s journey and take something different away from it. Again, that’s part of the magic of the theatre.
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Courtney, we hope we’ll keep seeing you on our stages and on other stages around town in the future! If you’d like to catch Courtney’s debut in Rabbit Hole, get tickets hereReturn to all posts >