As an actress in her 50s, Lisa Foster said she’s usually playing a character role or somebody’s grandmother.
But she’s able to step out of those boundaries in the “The Roommate.” The two-woman show features a fifty-something duo with complex histories in need of major life changes who are able to find parts of what they need in each other.
But, as Foster describes it, their story is no average mid-life crisis.
“This is no Porsche,” she joked.
The Jen Silverman play, staged at the Adobe Rose Theatre until March 11, is described as a “coming of middle age” dark comedy revolving around Sharon and Robyn. Sharon, played by Foster, is a 54-year-old newly divorced Iowa woman who is stuck in a rut when she advertises for a roommate her same age. She ends up with Robyn, played by Danielle Louise Reddick, from the Bronx.
Robyn’s reasons for coming to Iowa are a mystery – though director David Sinkus thinks she may be on the run.
Reddick describes her character as one with a “sordid past” of selling drugs, operating phone scams and stealing identities. She’s trying to leave that life behind when she introduces Sharon to her old ways, leading a woman who never took any risks in life to go out of control.
“I’m the one who eggs her on because it’s exciting and fun,” Foster said of her character. “I’ve never had this much fun in my life.”
Director David Sinkus says her story reveals a “transformation” that takes place for two women trying to better themselves from opposite sides of the spectrum. Sharon, who married her college boyfriend and did everything she was told to do in life, needs more adventure, while Robyn wants to leave her history of crime behind her.
“It’s like a rebound relationship, where you get together and it’s all really great for a while, but those people help each other move onto the next thing, which is where they need to be,” said Sinkus. “You need to go through this thing first to get to that thing. It’s almost like a metamorphosis.”
The fear of changing at a later age is something almost everyone goes through, said Sinkus. It’s people’s fear of the unknown, as well as the fear of looking back and wondering whether they took the wrong life path years ago.
“And you can’t do that,” said Sinkus. “It’s more about, ‘Now what can I do? What can I do to make the rest of my life worthwhile. How can I transform to that?’
“And I think that’s the crux of the play: trusting or being brave enough to make the transformation.”