Farmington Players pulls ‘Ripcord’ in season opener

Farmington Players opens its 2019-20 season October 4 with a farce that pits “odd couple” roommates against each other in a bet to see who wins the bed by the window.

David Lindsay-Abaire’s play “Ripcord,” a comedy with a heart, will run through October 19 at the Farmington Players Barn in Farmington Hills.

Farmington Players Ripcord
Cast members in a scene from “Ripcord” are, from left, Nancy Cooper, Jason Wilhoite, Margaret Gilkes. (Paul Manoian Photography)

Abby Binder, played by Farmington Hills resident Margaret Gilkes, is on a mission to keep her double room at the senior center all to herself. When Marilyn Dunne, played by Farmington resident Nancy Cooper, gets assigned to share the space, Abby is determined to have her ousted.

Marilyn insists nothing makes her angry, while Abby says she never gets scared. So Marilyn soon proposes a bet to win the bed with the beautiful view. If Abby can make Marilyn lose her temper, then Marilyn will move out, because she drives Abby crazy. But if Marilyn can somehow frighten Abby, then Marilyn wins the bed.

Cooper’s character is like the “Oscar Madison” of this mismatched couple, and Cooper sees some of herself in the part.

“I love how she uses humor to smooth over difficult situations and how she is willing to do some crazy things to win a bet and how deeply she loves her kids and grandkids,” she said.

Farmington Players Ripcord
Featured in a scene from “Ripcord”, from left, are Nancy Cooper, Margaret Gilkes, Jason Wilhoite, and Mike Gingerella. (Paul Manoian Photography)

The two “little old ladies” (one sweet, the other sour) wind up in a behavioral “free fall,” repeatedly try to “one-up” each other like college roommates bickering over turf. They pull numerous gags and pranks (some quite cruel) and drag each other’s family members into their “turf war,” eventually, revealing each other’s painful secrets.

However, their bitter battle ends up taking a terrific twist, as they “pull the ripcord” on their descent, slow down and confront their ghosts, revealing more about their motivations. This leads to a sweet and surprising “self-reckoning” scene, suggesting even in our “Golden Years,” we can “soften” an otherwise hard landing by making good choices in life.

Gilkes loves the idea that sometimes you just need to “stop and smell the roses.”

“I like that even as you grow older, you never stop growing as a person,” she said. “Life can change on a dime, and new friends are there even if you’re not looking for them.”

Tickets are available at the box office 248-553-2955 or at farmingtonplayers.org, where you’ll also find information about show times and dates.

The Farmington Players Barn is at 32332 W. 12 Mile Road, Farmington Hills.