Ripcord at CRTThe Scene on Stage: ‘Ripcord’ cast reunites at CRT posted on 09/01/2018
David Smith-English, Artistic Director of Clackamas
Repertory Theatre (CRT), noted that the staff at the theater are reading plays
“all the time,” in a constant search for what ones to do next. And when he first
read David Lindsay-Abaire’s “Ripcord,” it stood out immediately.
“I was struck by the fact that here is a play that has two
terrific roles for two women in their 70s,” Smith-English said. “I thought,
wow, you just don’t see that very often. Especially something that is funny.
It’s sharp and it’s pretty sophisticated.”
CRT first performed the play as a staged reading and now
brings back the two lead women, Anita Sorel and Randi Douglass, the director,
Smith-English, and two other actors for a full production, opening this month.
Smith-English noted that the two main characters, Marilyn
and Abby, are pitted against each other in a contest. The pair share a room in
the Bristol Place Senior Living Facility, but Abby’s desire to get rid of
Marilyn leads to a bet that escalates into a dangerous game of one-upmanship.
Smith-English added that there is a benefit to having so
many people who worked on the stage reading come back for the full production.
“These guys are a little bit familiar with one another and
of course with the play itself,” he said. “Things tend to percolate a little
bit and grow over time. When this cast comes in, they feel ready to go.”
Smith-English noted the show is about relationships,
including how your past has brought you to where you are today and how people
can continue to grow. And he noted how Lindsay-Abaire brings Marilyn and Abby
along a journey that draws them together.
“In the process, some warmth develops between them,”
Smith-English said. “It’s a really nice growth process.”
CRT’s production of “Ripcord” runs from Thursday, Sept. 6
through Sunday, Sept. 30, at the Niemeyer Center on the Oregon City campus of
Clackamas Community College, 19600 Molalla Avenue in Oregon City. Show times
are 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. For
more information, visit clackamasrep.org or call 503-594-6047.
Cast returns in Sandy, too
Actor and director James Bass has one rule for his work: he
swore he would never direct and act in the same show. But it is said that rules
are made to be broken, and Bass followed suit, taking the helm of the Sandy
Actors Theatre’s (SAT) September production of “Bill W. and Dr. Bob;” a
production that reunites the cast from seven years ago.
“The director needs to be an advocate for the audience,”
Bass said, noting that the director of the earlier production, Jim Wilhite,
will play an advisory role this time. “But this is a cast that I trust, all
people that are talented, professional, amazingly good hearts. If I was going
to break that rule, this was the only group of people I would do that for.”
The play, written by Samuel Shem and Janet Surrey, offers
the story of the two men who pioneered Alcoholics Anonymous and their wives,
who founded Al Anon. The story is a meaningful one for Bass, now 11 years
“It’s always amazing to me in retelling this story that it
reminds me of what is necessary,” Bass said, noting how difficult it can be to
quit alcohol. “The providence that created a program that works for some
He added that the first time SAT mounted the show, it was
such a hit that they had to turn away hundreds of people. Bass credited it as
not being preachy or a puff piece about the program, but offering a personal
and real story about the founders.
“It’s really a very well written script,” he said. “It truly
is a wonderful retelling.”
SAT presents “Bill W. and Dr. Bob” from Friday, Sept. 7
through Sunday, Sept. 30, at 17433 Meinig Ave. (behind Ace Hardware). Show
times are 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 3 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets
are $18 general admission, $15 for students and seniors and $13 for children
under 12 (reservations are recommended). For more information, or to make
reservations call 503-668-6834 or visit sandyactorstheatre.org.By Garth Guibord/MT