McMansion = a “home [that] had a heart and it was ripped out”?

The award-winning play “Rabbit Hole” includes an interesting view of the McMansion:

A child dies, a mother grieves, a father agonizes and a family is changed forever…

For “Rabbit Hole,” set designer Susan Crabtree has created a house that outwardly reflects an upper-middle-class lifestyle, yet frames a troubled family within.

In notes for the press, Crabtree says of her inspiration, “We wanted to create an impression of a ‘McMansion’ — a well-appointed home. But, as the story evolves, we discover the home had a heart and it was ripped out. In the end, the house is just a house — people are the real home. They have to find their family again as they turn to each other.”

The play earned the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for drama. The playwright was sure to include doses of comic relief along with thought-provoking lines to further draw in the audience. Its 2006 debut on Broadway earned “Sex and the City” actress Cynthia Nixon a 2007 Tony Award for Best Actress in a play, among three other Tony nominations. Her cast included fellow actors John Slattery of “Mad Men” fame and Tyne Daly from “Cagney and Lacy.”

Maybe this play isn’t really about the suburbs or certain kinds of homes but the description sounds like it builds upon some common ideas. I wonder if McMansion critics would like this depiction of such a house: it is place that may look nice but it has no heart. In other words, a McMansion doesn’t create or help develop a family – rather, it may even hinder them from forming deeper relationships. Put another way, you can buy the impressive looking house but that is not what really matters in the long run. This play also seems to draw upon common critiques of suburbia, the land where everyone acts like they have it together but the nice homes and communities hide desperate tales.


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