Rhea Akler is a graduate of the York University Theatre Program in Directing. Her love of acting ultimately overshadowed her degree and she has not looked back since. Rhea was nominated for an ACTRA Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female for the short film, Undercurrent, which she wrote and co-produced. Recent film/TV/web series credits include The Strain, The Returned, V Morgan Is Dead and Winter Garden.
Recent Theatre credits include The Dumbwaiter for Stratical Theatre, and in May, Rhea will debut a new play by Sophia Fabiilli, called Liars at a Funeral. Rhea is thrilled to be returning to the stage to share this moving story of Rabbit Hole alongside this beautiful cast of actors.
Exclusive Interview with Rhea Akler who plays Nat.
1. What drew you to this story?
This is a moving story of a family shook by a tragic accident. In a matter of seconds, their lives have been changed forever. The loss of a child is beyond comprehension. Will they, somehow, some way, in time, find their way? This struggle to exist beyond loss is what is compelling to witness. Loss and death are themes which are not often talked about in our society. Especially when it comes to the loss of a child. This is a chance to begin this dialogue.
2. Tell me a little bit about your character.
Nat is the matriarch of the family and a bit of a spitfire. I kinda love her! She's passionate, funny (although not always trying to be!), a straight shooter, a little self-involved, loves a glass of wine (or 4) and is resilient in the face of loss (she lost her only son 11 years ago). Although she has made her fair share of mistakes, she has always done her best as a mother. She loves her children deeply and fiercely and would do anything to support and protect them.
3. How are you similar/ different to your character?
I am a mother, so naturally Nat and I have that in common. I too love my kids beyond the hemisphere and back and would do anything to protect and support them. I think I am down to earth like Nat and passionate about subjects which move me. Although perhaps in my earlier years I may have been more self involved, I am proud to say I have moved towards a mindful state of being (a continuous journey).
4. What has been the biggest challenge so far tackling the subject matter involved in the play?
The most difficult thing to tackle with this subject matter is relating it to the loss I have experienced in my own life and any imagined loss of my children. I find it extremely painful to fathom this thought. And I can instantly see why people are afraid to speak of this subject. It's unbearable to even imagine, but our job as artists is to present it in order to communicate and honour it.
5. Do you have a favourite rehearsal memory yet?
LoL - still in process. Though, outside of rehearsal, Courtney, Tyler and I had the privilege of meeting with 7 mothers (who are also peer counsellors) from the Bereaved Families of Ontario. They shared their personal stories of loss which profoundly moved me. I had a leaky water faucet in the corner of my right eye which was turned on throughout the encounter. That experience will stay with me forever and hopefully be infused, like osmosis, in the work we do on stage, and I'll try to honour their stories.
To order advanced tickets (at a discounted price) check out Rabbit Hole's Eventbrite page!!! There are 17 performances to choose from.
If you'd like to take advantage of exclusive opening/closing night parties with complementary Frisky Beaver Wine and hors d'oeuvres, dinner/theatre packages with Braised or Triple A, behind the scenes time with the cast or would like to donate directly to Bereaved Families of Ontario please check out our Indiegogo Campaign HERE.
See you at the theatre!