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Ripcord at CRT
The 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 sober.

“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 people.”

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
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