Bloomington's Professional Theater Company

Bloomington's Professional Theater Company

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HT Preview: Cardinal explores unlikely roommate scenario

By Joel Pierson | H-T Columnist

January 26, 2020

 

It’s a new year, and Cardinal Stage is jumping back into their new season with a new buddy comedy called “The Roommate,” written by Jen Silverman.

 

It’s about two “women of a certain age,” Sharon and Robyn (Adrienne Cury and Constance Macy) who are thrown together as unlikely roommates when Sharon needs someone to split the household bills in her Iowa home post-divorce. Robyn, a transplant from the Bronx, answers the call, and the pair’s odyssey begins.

 

If you’re starting to think Felix and Oscar, I might direct you more toward Walter White and Jesse Pinkman. Cuz da ladies ’bout to start somethin’-somethin’.

 

What makes “The Roommate” a standout is its characters. American theater isn’t overflowing with good roles for women in their fifties who aren’t called “Nana,” so Silverman’s ode to female friendship and golden-years empowerment is refreshing. Both women are searching for meaning. Sharon is bored and lonely. Robyn is hiding out, trying to put past indiscretions behind her. At first, it seems the two couldn’t be more opposite. Yet each has something the other lacks, and the story weaves its rich, funny tapestry around that premise.

 

I don’t want to divulge too much about Robyn’s misdeeds. The play does a good job of that, and the discovery is an important part of the journey. Sure, the story has elements that are familiar to Neil Simon fans, but Silverman takes it in very modern directions.

 

(After all, “The Odd Couple” is now 55 years old, believe it or not.) Suffice it to say that Robyn’s bad-girl past inspires Sharon to reach beyond the safety and security of her day to day.

 

Cardinal Stage also has another offering, concurrent with the run of “The Roommate,” a one-woman show called “Digging in Their Heels” by renowned artist Sally Perkins. It’s a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution — you know, the one that gave women the right to vote. Shocking as it is that it took that long in our country’s history to get that basic human right ratified, it’s equally shocking that some people today would gladly see it repealed. As such, it’s important to honor the journey and the struggle that led to this historic moment.

 

Cardinal’s team describes the show this way: “Performing for just two nights, the show tells the story of women’s suffrage in a way you’ll never forget. Perkins recently opened this show in New York City and is excited to bring it to Bloomington audiences. Perkins imagines suffragists with modern technology while she takes her audience on a 72-year journey, revealing suffragists’ struggles, strategies, racism and endurance.”

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