Part of Spoleto Festival USA. A new show from the award-winning Welsh performer Hugh Hughes. When Hughes finds his neighbor’s rabbit lying dead in his garden, his subsequent puzzling over the best course of action brings many of life’s existential questions to the fore. (1 hr., 10 mins.)
WHAT IS IT? Story of Rabbit is a one-man show by Welsh actor Shon Dale-Jones. He’s also a stand-up comic and co-founder of Hoipolloi Theatre. In Story of a Rabbit, he impersonates his alter ego Hugh Hughes, who one day as a child finds a dead rabbit in the garden. Also on this day is the death of Dale-Jones’ real-life dad. The world of a child’s imagination collides with an adult’s real world in this evocative journey through death, memory, and time. It’s at once bittersweet and cute. It is, after all, premised on a fuzzy little bunny.
WHY SEE IT? Spoleto is partial to one-man shows being among its theater options. Last year, we saw Marc Bamuthi Joseph introduce a new genre for the stage called hip-hop poetry theater. In the break/s, Joseph incorporated a live kick drum, a deejay, and a video pastiche into his poetic storytelling. Dale-Jones isn’t cool enough for a drummer or a deejay, but he does use video to illustrate this story — old-school Super 8 film to be precise. The effect is like watching family videos, very personal and very nostalgic for an era that’s long since gone.
WHO SHOULD GO? If you prefer theater to be intimate but not claustrophobic, then Story of a Rabbit will be just right at CofC’s Emmett Robinson Theatre. And while you’re not going to see the spangles and sparkles of drag-dramatist Taylor Mac this year (he of fabulous sequins, stupendous wig, and enormously high stiletto heels), you will get a lot of comedy. Dale-Jones cut his teeth in the comedy clubs of London before heading off to Paris to study “real” acting. Story of a Rabbit also came about after Floating, a tale about his native island of Anglesey (that’s in Wales) breaking off the mainland and drifting out to sea. Both plays were hailed among the best at the 2007 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. (John Stoehr)