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Bremer, associate professor of theatre, directs Rabbit Hole in Willmar with Morris cast and crew members

Posted by Judy Korn on Thursday, Sep. 9, 2010


Siobhan Bremer, associate professor of theatre, knew that Rabbit Hole by David Lindsay-Abaire would be a challenging play to direct. She describes the 2007 Pulitzer Prize winning play as “a tough, theatre-lover-type play, real life.” Bremer accepted the challenge in part for the play’s intense honesty and in part for the deep confidence she holds in her cast and production crew, including three members with Morris ties. The play opens at The Barn Theater in Willmar on September 15, 2010.

“Part of life is learning to live again after terrible losses,” says Bremer, reflecting on Rabbit Hole. “That’s the situation Howie and Becca find themselves in after the death of their five-year-old son, Danny. Nothing can change the reality of a dead son. Yet there is still a spark, a spark of light as seen from the bottom of a hole. Each morning, a new day dawns. As a director, immersing myself in the play has been life affirming. I am thankful for a talented cast of actors and an amazing crew.”

Brittany Ottum ’12, stage manager
Bremer says that Rabbit Hole audiences will “feel and see” family members survive a tragedy, “putting one foot in front of another each day,” through drama, humor, honesty, and accuracy. The audience experiences real people interacting in a real home. Brittany Ottum, a UMM junior from Eden Prairie, was recruited by Bremer to help create the “realness” of the play as stage manager, an opportunity that also serves as a directed study.

“I am very glad to be doing this play,” says Ottum, “Working in a nonacademic setting with very high caliber actors the actual ages of the play’s characters has been a good learning experience and a challenge. I’m an organized person, but this has to be completely organized. My responsibilities—researching, creating the space, blocking correctly at rehearsals—affects the entire performance. It is like a puzzle, putting everything together.”

Ottum, a theatre and English major, served as assistant stage manager for two campus productions, Adventures in Mating and As You Like It.

James Aronson as Jason
A junior at Morris Area Public High School and a post secondary enrollment option (PSEO) student on campus, James Aronson plays the role of Jason, the teenager who struck Danny with his vehicle.

A young actor, Aronson’s credits are already long and varied, from Billy in On Golden Pond to Puck in Midsummer Night’s Dream, but this opportunity, he says, is very different.

“Jason is a very serious role, a new experience for me,” shares Aronson. “It is very difficult to show emotions just under the surface.”

Colin Wasmund as Howie
Morris native Colin Wasmund now teaches theatre at Ridgewater Community College after receiving a master of fine arts from Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall. Wasmund, an accomplished actor, says Bremer, plays the role of the father, Howie, who clings to the memory of his child.

The cast is completed with Stacey Neuhaus as Becca, Danny’s mother, Anne Lankey as Nat, Danny’s grandmother, and Angela Nelson as Izzy, Danny’s young aunt.

“This particular group working with Rabbit Hole is very flexible, very professional, and has very good instincts,” says Bremer. “It is a cast of realistic actors whose characters change—as will the audience.”

Rabbit Hole will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on September 15–18, 22–25, 2010, at The Barn Theatre, 321 Southwest Fourth Street in Willmar. For ticket information, call 320-235-9500.

Photo from left: Aronson, Ottum, and Bremer