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Psychology Student Helps Direct "Rabbit Hole"

Oscar Chavez used his psychology studies to add to SDSU's adaptation of "Rabbit Hole."
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Omar Chavez, psychology student and Guardian Scholar, is the assistant director of SDSU's adaptation of "Rabbit Hole," alongside director Peter James Cirino.

Chavez participated in the Playwright’s Project where he was tasked to create a storyline based on his life.

“As Guardian Scholars, each month we had a meeting and the Playwright’s Project came and asked us to write a play about being in a foster home. So I wrote it based on my story with the help of my mentor, Olivia Espinoza," Chavez said. "She helped me with the structure of the play. It was a great experience. Especially seeing it being performed on stage.”

Cirino liked Chavez’s script so much, he asked him to be the assistant director on "Rabbit Hole." As a psychology student, Chavez thought the script was interesting, as it deals with loss and trauma.

“I use my psychology studies to help the actors understand what their characters are going through and make it as raw and real as possible," Chavez said. "Because I’m studying psychology, I can see a certain behavior that should be magnified or taken down. It is a play, but I am able to lend that insight to make the actors even better.” Chavez said.

In "Rabbit Hole," a shocking and sudden loss leaves Becca and Howie redefining their existence while spiraling perilously apart. Both make surprising and dangerous choices as they search for a way out of the darkness of their loss.

“'Rabbit Hole' is a great story but you could also look at it in a behavioral sort of way. As the audience, we can see how a person will pull through a traumatic event. As students, we can watch how humans use certain behaviors to cope with trauma. I'm hoping that I will be able to continue to help direct and use what I'm learning in the psychology department to further develop plays," Chavez said.

I think other psych students would also be interested in watching these actors go through a traumatic accident — watching a family go through loss. It's moving and it's fascinating on an academic level."

About "Rabbit Hole"

"Rabbit Hole" was originally commissioned by the South Coast Repertory Company in 2005, received its first New York production in 2006, and was the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 2007.

Rabbit Hole runs Sept. 26 through Oct. 5 in SDSU’s Experimental Theatre. Performances are Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $16 for general admission, $14 for students and seniors and are available through the online box office.