‘RipCord’ at Ross Valley Players – If the Main Chute Fails

(L-R) Pamela Hollings (Marilyn), Tori Truss (Abby). Photo by Robin Jackson.

Oil and water can live side by side in perfect harmony without mixing.  However, what if the ingredients live together as roommates?  Just give them a good shake and they will try to live together.. but with what fallout?  The mixing is the madness contained in this play by David Lindsay-Abaire.

It’s a good bet for Ross Valley Players to do the mixing with a progression of antics that keep us in suspension throughout.  It’s a high-energy return to live theatre for our community that’s ready for a comeback to in-person acting on the “Boards.”  Yes, RVP is back, with RipCord starting off their 92nd season.

First produced in 2015, David Lindsay-Abaire’s latest play follows two mature women in an assisted living home.  Abby (played by Tori Truss) has lived alone in her room for some time.  Marilyn (played by Pamela Hollings) is moved into the room with Abby, with mixed results.

Being a natural competitor, Marilyn tries to get the reclusive Abby to respond to bets made on the smallest of things.  Abby will have none of it and asks the manager to move Marilyn out to another room.  For various reasons, both Abby and Marilyn must stay together as roommates.  One last bet is made to resolve the problem.  This bet defines the play.

(L-R) Bau Tran (Scotty), Tori Truss (Abby).
Photo by Robin Jackson.

Bau Tran plays Scotty, the resident aide for the facility.  Scotty wants Abby to accept Marilyn as a high-energy addition to the room, and will do anything to facilitate the resolution.  Tran becomes a kind, empathetic and firm mediator, but as a representative of the management, he actually supports Marilyn in the final resolution.

(L-R) Bau Tran (Scotty), Nate Currier (Clown). Photo by Robin Jackson.

Peter Warden, Nate Currier and Rebakah Kouy-Ghadosh play members of Marilyn’s family that work to resolve the bet with Marilyn.  Playing multiple roles within roles to support their mother, they take on different characters from a clown to a zombie, parachute jump instructors and haunted house residents.  They helped the action to move smoothly from layer to layer in the plot.

Eventually, the bet becomes a personal vendetta. The resolution is the emotional catharsis of the play, of course, as eyes are opened to the reality of the situation.  The play keeps us interested and alert to the very end as the mystery evolves.

The main set is a bright and sunny room on an upper floor.  Tom O’Brien and Michael Walraven have created a clever set that allows the large room, an airplane and a haunted house to unfold easily to reveal the individual scenes.

(L-R) Bau Tran (Scotty), Tori Truss (Abby). Photo by Robin Jackson.

Music and sounds were very clear.  Lighting was appropriate.  In these times of BLM, however, casting could have been more “open” without the racially stereotyped roles presented in the show. if COVID has taught us anything, it is that the 21st century must be more racially aware.

Ross Valley Players’ new seats and smaller house (99 seats) make seeing the play more enjoyable, but reservations are critical.  All cast and crew are fully vaccinated; masks are required for all audience; reservations are for 50% of house only.  Make sure you reserve in advance.

“RipCord” continues at the Ross Valley Players in Ross through October 10, 2021.  For further information: rossvalleyplayers.com

 Rating: ***

“Ripcord,” by David Lindsay-Abaire is produced by Ross Valley Players.  Director: Chloe Bronzan, Set Design: Tom O’Brien, Scenic Designer: Tom O’Brien, Lighting Design: Tina Johnson, Producers: Steve Price, Heather Shepardson, Sound Design: Bruce Vieira, Construction: Michael Walraven, Costume Designer: Michael A. Berg, Painter/Properties: Dhyanis, Stage Manager: Dianne Harrison.

Cast: Tori Truss: Abby, Bau Tran: Scotty, Pamela Hollings: Marilyn, Peter Warden: Derek & others, Nate Currier: Benjamin & others, Rebekah Kouy-Ghadosh: Colleen & others.

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Author: Gary Gonser

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