The Roommate is the story of Sharon and Robyn, two women who meet as strangers, with all the awkwardness and fears and glimmers of possibility that pepper the getting-acquainted process (especially in middle age!). Instantly, these women understand they are utterly unlike each other – the one sheltered, hesitant, self-deprecating; the other, a woman of the world, a woman with a past, with secrets.
The Roommate is also a story of two strangers who become….something else, funnier and riskier and far more complicated than we might expect. As different as Sharon’s and Robyn’s lives have been, playwright Jen Silverman understands how loneliness and confusions and acute hunger – for companionship, for creativity, for daredevilry – belong to all of us, and certainly to her two characters.
And The Roommate is also about two women of a certain age – the mid-50’s, when loneliness lurks, and invisibility threatens, and a profound hunger to throw it all away and just start over tempts pretty well all of us. And here’s where Silverman, for me, really works her magic. Beneath the zany goings-on, she asks: how does change, real change, life-changing change, happen? Can a “half life” become a full life, creative and vital and connected and daring? What does it take, and what do we have to lose (literally!) in order to transform?
Working with Jen Childs and Grace Gonglewski, two of Philly’s most brilliant actors at the top of their game, has been joyous beyond description. And as roommates Sharon and Robyn dodge and challenge and surprise each other, and themselves, Grace, Jen, and I keep seeing more and more of ourselves in both of them, and (alongside the laughter) I think you will too. I hope their journey will tickle, surprise, move, and absolutely delight you.
-Harriet Power, director