Phoenix Theatre uses video projections in a scene from “Ripchord” where its main characters skydive. Pictured are Melanie Calderwood and Greg Klaciak at left and Susan Connors and Renee Gilbert at right. (Jim Sipes)

Phoenix Theatre uses video projections in a scene from “Ripchord” where its main characters skydive. Pictured are Melanie Calderwood and Greg Klaciak at left and Susan Connors and Renee Gilbert at right. (Jim Sipes)

Roommates find challenge in each other — and life — in ‘Ripcord’

The Phoenix Theatre production, which is part comedy, part drama, opens March 29 in Edmonds.

How much of life should be a risk and how much should remain within the known bounds of what feels emotionally safe?

This is one of the issues raised by the play, “Ripcord,” which opens March 29 at Phoenix Theatre in Edmonds.

The play is a character study of two older women in assisted living, “who really shouldn’t have become roommates,” said Eric Lewis, the play’s director.

One is an extrovert and loves being around people. The other, he said, is closed down emotionally.

Stuck in one room together, they make a bet, in part to make it somehow more bearable and to encourage one of them to leave. It challenges both of them to overcome things about themselves — in one case trying to get the other angry by putting all their possessions on Craigslist to be given away free and the other to parachute out of an airplane.

“What’s really intriguing is these women are older and they have nothing to lose,” Lewis said. “They just go for it. There’s total commitment to this bet that they have.”

Phoenix Theatre’s “Ripchord” is about two women who shouldn’t be roommates but are forced by circumstance to be so anyhow. Melanie Calderwood, right, plays the role of Abby and Susan Connors, left, plays the role of Marilyn. (Jim Sipes)

Phoenix Theatre’s “Ripchord” is about two women who shouldn’t be roommates but are forced by circumstance to be so anyhow. Melanie Calderwood, right, plays the role of Abby and Susan Connors, left, plays the role of Marilyn. (Jim Sipes)

The play is a mix of funny and serious moments, a balance of comedy and drama, he said.

The six-member cast has some unusual challenges, such as recreating part of the play that occurs in a haunted house during Halloween. Another takes place in an airplane. Video projections — a first for Phoenix Theatre — are used to help create that scene.

The play runs about 1 hour and 45 minutes with intermission.

One of the play’s underlying themes is to stop and appreciate the present moment. For the two main characters, looking at the end of their lives, that means taking time to enjoy themselves.

“That’s kind of what people should get out of it: No matter what time of life, there’s always time to enjoy yourself and appreciate what you have,” Lewis said.

The play’s title — “Ripcord” — evolved from this approach to life. “You pull it from stopping yourself from falling to the Earth,” he said. “It slows you down, and you can look around and see the world.”

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or salyer@heraldnet.com.

Melanie Calderwood (left) and Greg Klaciak (behind her) and Susan Connors (right) and Renee Gilbert (behind her) in a skydiving scene from the play. (Jim Sipes)

Melanie Calderwood (left) and Greg Klaciak (behind her) and Susan Connors (right) and Renee Gilbert (behind her) in a skydiving scene from the play. (Jim Sipes)

If you go

Phoenix Theatre’s production of “Ripcord” is scheduled March 29 to April 20. Shows are 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays.

The theater is at 9673 Firdale Ave., Edmonds. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors, students and the military. Tickets and information available online at www.tptedmonds.org or by phone at 206-533-2000.

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