Shauna Kiefiuk knows it’s harder to draw audiences to local theater with more serious fare, and “Rabbit Hole” fits that description: The play captures a family going through a tragedy and drifting apart.

“Even for auditions, getting people was hard because of the content,” Kiefiuk said.

But sometimes difficult projects are worth the effort.

“Rabbit Hole,” which opens Friday at Albany Civic Theater, has been on Kiefiuk’s bucket list to direct for years, ever since she lost her mother, Judi Kiefiuk, in 2004.

The play, Kiefiuk said, is "about how to deal with grief."

The play could help audience members in some ways, get them to think of things in a new light, and perhaps even provide comfort. Kiefiuk said the play helped her, as well as her crew and cast, who all have lost someone close.

“Whatever you choose to do, however you choose to deal with it is OK, because it’s on your terms,” she added.

Kiefiuk is a 1995 Lebanon High School graduate, and was involved in the theater program there under Debbie Edwards.

“I had a lot of fun doing that,” she said.

At Linn-Benton Community College, with her heavy class load, it was hard for her to participate in theater, but she helped with a few plays.

Kiefiuk later moved to Albany and got a job with regular hours, and she knew there was a theater downtown that she wanted to get involved with. So she volunteered behind the scenes for some ACT shows in 2001 and started appearing on stage in 2002.

“They haven’t gotten rid of me since. … Once you’re here, you’re family,” Kiefiuk said.

Two newcomers are in the cast for “Rabbit Hole.” Kathie O’Brien recently joined ACT, and Jamie Muller has never been in a play before in her life.

The cast also includes Kristie Nelson, Jason Howell and Clayton Hollingsworth. Stephanie Marie is the assistant director of the play.

Kyle Odegard can be reached at kyle.odegard@lee.net, 541-812-6077 or via Twitter @KyleOdegard.

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