Not an easy place to make friends
It was all about Abby Bonder's bed, plus the picturesque window next to her bed with a beautiful view of the outside world.
Hippodrome Theatre Director V Craig Heidenreich, image right, and Pulitzer Prize winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire have created the ultimate buddy story revolving around a winner-take-all contest of one upmanship in this Hippodrome production of the rollicking funny comedy RIPCORD.
Lucy and Ethel, The Odd Couple's Felix and Oscar, Grumpy Old Men's John and Max, Laverne and Shirley, Ripcord's Abby and Marilyn, the Hippodrome's NELL PAGE and SARA MORSEY. It's funny how the best friendship is sometimes relationships, bondings you least expect. You know the ones I'm talking about GLOBers, associations that become strong unions that lasts the eternity.
Ripcord opens with Abby Binder opining to Scotty (Logan Wolfe) she is perfectly content with her existence and certainly has no desire to share the second bed in her elder care senior Living space. Wouldn't you know it that was exactly the plan as Marilyn Dunne (Nell Page) was quickly introduced as Abby's (Sara Morsey)new roommate.
Venerable Hippodrome actors Nell Page (image above left) and Sara Morsey (image above right) have teamed up for a roommate anxiety experience many of us have endured at some point in our lives. This is why the person invading Abby's senior care home space becomes a test of diametrically opposed individuals:
Abby Binder: Reclusive, content, completely disinterested in socializing, befriending, or sharing the private space of her insulated from-the-world apartment.
Marilyn Dunne: Effervescent, full of life, ready to take on the new challenge of sharing this apartment, new friends, and especially new adventures.
This is where the fun begins as the two ladies stake their territorial existence out in the bedroom's close quarters of the Bristol Place Assisted Living Facility. Conversation leads to a challenge of wits with Marilyn insisting nothing makes her angry. Abby counters that statement by declaring she is never, ever scared.
Hipp supporting actors Logan Wolfe (Scotty), Laura Shatkus (Colleen), Bryan Mercer (Benjamin) and Niall McGinty's (Masked man, Zombie Butler) take turns stealing scenes with absurd behavior, and very funny 'schtick' on a stage of one laugh after another.
PS: BRAVO! I found Laura Shatkus's COLLEEN, image right, and Bryan Mercer's BENJAMIN very well done, funny, clever, compelling. Mr. Mercer had me empathizing with Benjamin's troubled feelings about his mother. I grew up with five brothers and sisters. Colleen's hilarious, wanting to please sibling portrayal, is too funny for words. (In the GLOB Master's opinion a very cool thing about the Hippodrome is being so close to the actor's and the stage is watching actors put their heart, and soul into their characters!)
New to the elder care, senior living scene where Marilyn is ready to make friends and bring an added breath of fresh air to Abby's life. This instantly upsets Abby's private universe and personal apple cart existence.
The contest begins with the ground rules that If Abby can make Marilyn lose her temper, Marilyn will move out. That is, unless Marilyn frightens Abby out of her wits first. In that case, Abby gets to have Marilyn's bed, which is right next to the window to the outside world, and a lovely view of a park.
High Fives to the Hippodrome design team for literally moving the Hipp audience into the close quarters of this rest home for two. Lorelei Esser (Costume Design) styled the play perfectly with the exaggerated costumes of Niall McGinty Characters, the Zombie Butler, and the Masked Man.
It is always extraordinary how this team of designers creates alternate worlds so easily in such a confined space. In this play, as an example, I am speaking of the actors portraying flying sky high in the blue sky while skydiving. It all seemed very real to me.
A big part of seeing these excellent plays in Hoggetowne is the discussion about what we just experienced after the show. My good friend Ayuervedic Health Coach Chaya Sharon-Heller and I attended the after show party and were privileged to get the lowdown 'professional' opinion on RIPCORD from several of the actors.
The general agreement was the buddy, best friend, partner experience is vital if you plan to live in a social environment. Thanks to Marilyn's determination to make a new friend, in a new world, she brought light, joy, and discovery back to Abby's domain. An individual that has settled for an existence possessing none of the aforementioned qualities of Marilyn.
The GLOB Master has mentioned many times friendship, to my opinion, is the union that supersedes all other relationships. It took me a while to see the point this Pulitzer prize winner playwright was trying to make until it became apparent in the transformation Abbey undergoes trying to best a roommate that is turning into her special friend in her world of very few acquaintances.
Much thanks to the Hippodrome team of actors, designers and technicians, for this friendship re-awakening that will have you ROFLOL! Trust the GLOB Master you will fall in love with Marilyn Dunne and Abby Binder, regardless of who gets the best bed.
STIRRING THE BRAIN CELLS: According to Hipp Artistic Director Lauren Caldwell it's not about right, and wrong when interpreting a good, thought provoking, story, or piece of art. Our excellent Friday night conversation continued into Saturday morning when Chaya, image right, decided to add her comments about RIPCORD in the comment window below.
EDITOR's NOTE: Specials Thanks to the Gainesville Downtown and the Hippodrome's Rachel Jones for the RIPCORD images. RIPCORD continues with Hippodrome Theatre performances through March 25 on various days, times, FOLLOW THIS LINK for more information.