|Ripcord cast members (L to R) Michael Rea, Nancy Cooper, Laurel Stroud and Margaret Gilkes|
PHOTO: Paul Manoian
Like a skydiver pulling a ripcord to slow his own freefall, David Lindsay-Abaire’s play Ripcord derives its title from the same concept: Sometimes you have to slow life down intentionally to break your fall and observe what’s going on around you. The Farmington Players production of Ripcord (October 4 – 19 at the Barn Theater) features several long-time Barn members. I recently asked them to reflect on some of the shows themes.
First Question: Do you find it difficult to live in the present moment due to a busy life schedule? How do you cope?
Nancy Cooper, who plays Marilyn, finds it “hard to live in the moment. Seems like I’m always planning what to do next, or getting ready for the next thing I have to do. So this year, I have really tried to apply mindfulness to my life. I try to allow each moment to be what it is and to enjoy or learn from whatever each thing brings. The years really do seem to go by faster as I get older, so I gotta stop letting everything speed by me so quickly.” Laurel Stroud (Colleen, Marilyn’s daughter) said, “It sometimes feels impossible to slow life down, every time I turn around another week has gone by. When the weather is nice I eat every meal I can out on my patio. I can take a breath and enjoy my little corner of the world. I also try to say yes to chances to be with friends.” Mike Gingerella (Benjamin) faces this challenge by “scheduling time for myself, and sticking to that schedule as much as possible. If you do not have a balance between what you do for a living and what you do outside of work, it will cause nothing but stress. I believe managing stress is one of the most important things you can do to maintain your overall mental and physical health.” For Marget Gilkes (Abby), it’s not a matter of slowing life down, but rather filling it up “with everything I love: family, theater, travel, and friends.”
Next question: One reviewer wrote: “Ripcord offers a compelling look at the pleasure of a challenge and the challenge of finding pleasure.” —Time Out (New York). My question is this: How much of life should be a risk and how much should remain within the known bounds of what feels emotionally safe?
Mike Gingerella begins with the end in mind: “Whenever I consider taking any type of risk in my life, I ask myself: ‘Will I regret not having done this when I am on my death bed?’” Nancy Cooper enjoys “stretching my boundaries and trying new things. I like to feel a little scared when trying something new. A tad bit of uneasiness equals excitement for me. I can certainly see myself doing a lot of the things that Marilyn does in the play. I am really a lot like her.” Similarly, Laurel Stroud considers herself an “adapter. I like to survey the situation from a distance. … We adapters are experts at keeping things within known bounds. But I believe change is healthy too. There was a day when auditioning for a play was a huge risk, and I’m so glad I did it. How much risk should life have? Just a touch more than is comfortable.” By contrast, Margaret Gilkes may be taking the title of the play a bit too literally: “As for risk, on September 27, I’m checking off my bucket list parachuting from 6000 feet!”
Ripcord has 9 performances at the Farmington Players Barn Theater from October 4 - 19. The show is proudly sponsored by elder law attorneys Mall, Malisow and Cooney, P.C. Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing email@example.com or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.