Willowbrook to present winter play, ‘Ripcord’

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One of the complex and challenging, yet beautiful aspects of the human condition is dealing with the journey of aging and embracing mortality.

Willowbrook Theatre will explore that multifaceted subject when it presents the school’s winter play, “Ripcord,” a dark comedy by David Lindsay-Abaire. Performances will take place on Feb. 2, 3 and 4.

According to https://stageagent.com/shows/play/11495/ripcord, “Ripcord” tells the story of irritable and sarcastic Abby Binder, who has kept a room to herself for four years at the Bristol Place Senior Living Facility, through sheer force of her rude personality. Nursing disappointment at the direction her life has taken, she has no room for distraction. When bubbly, bright and unbearably cheerful Marilyn Dunne is placed in her room, Abby tries her usual tricks, but fails to scare her annoying new roommate away. She gets no sympathy from Scotty, the resident aide, who refuses to use any clout he might or might not have with management to remove Marilyn.

Exercising her taste for competition and her love of pranks, Marilyn makes a bet: if Abby can break her endless patience and make her angry, she will move out. But if she can successfully frighten Abby, who claims never to get scared, she will get the bed by the window. Marilyn has a devoted family – with a skydiving business – on her side, as well as the most dangerous thing of all: a genuine wish to see Abby happy. As this odd couple embarks upon increasingly emotionally and physically dangerous tricks in order to break each other, secrets are revealed, lives are jeopardized and peach cobbler is enjoyed.

“At the heart of the play are the topics of forgiveness and working on yourself,” said Willowbrook junior Sean O’Brochta, who plays Scotty. “I hope the audience members enjoy a laugh and leave thinking about the play’s main theme – that sometimes you have to pull the ripcord to slow down and enjoy life.”

Willowbrook seniors Amelia Tortorici (Abby Binder) and Samantha Tantilla (Marilyn Dunne) said the production focuses on how two women who are polar opposites find common ground through recognizing what’s truly important.

“They realize how fragile and temporary life is, and how it’s equally funny and serious,” Tortorici and Tantilla said.

Willowbrook Theatre Director Sara Corkery said the students wanted to bring “Ripcord” to the school’s stage after seeing it during the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Contest Play event.

“The story examines how each person faces life and death with a different philosophical viewpoint,” Corkery said. “Theatre is the antidote to the splintering of society, as it brings students into an environment where they can collaborate and create together.”

When: 7 p.m. on Feb. 2, 3 and 4

Where: Willowbrook, 1250 S. Ardmore Ave. in Villa Park

Tickets: Tickets will be available to buy at the door and cost $7 for adults; $5 for children ages 12 to 17; and are free for children younger than 12 years old and for those with a District 88 student ID and a District 88 Senior Gold Card.

For questions or more information: Contact Willowbrook Theatre Director Sara Corkery at scorkery@dupage88.net

Important note: This production is a dark comedy and is rated PG-13 for strong language and mature themes.