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Girls on Stage

Two plays focus on the feminine

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FRENEMIES Kate Brickley (in glasses) and Laura Jorgenson are mismatched roommates in 'Ripcord.' - ERIC CHAZANKIN
  • Eric Chazankin
  • FRENEMIES Kate Brickley (in glasses) and Laura Jorgenson are mismatched roommates in 'Ripcord.'

The travails of women at the opposite ends of life are the focus of two very entertaining productions running now at opposite ends of Sonoma County. Healdsburg's Raven Players presents Sarah DeLappe's The Wolves through Feb. 9 while Petaluma's Cinnabar Theater presents David Lindsay-Abaire's Ripcord through Feb. 16.

The cavernous Raven Performing Arts Center has turned its stage into an intimate, black-box theater and that's been turned into an indoor soccer facility where The Wolves, a high school girls soccer team, practice and play. The audience sits in stands on opposite sides of the field and observes the team's warmups over a six-week period. They stretch, they dribble, they kick and they talk. Boy, do they talk.

DeLappe's dialogue has the sting of accuracy as the girls converse about the competition, college, boys, family, friendship and loss, with language that is often amusing, occasionally heartbreaking and frequently coarse.

Director Katie Watts-Whitaker's ensemble of nine young performers (Willow Orthwein, Katerina Flores, Grace Reid, Abby Miranda, Lily de Laney, Ashley Matteoni, Candice Penland, Seana Maclure and Andi Luekens) gives very credible performances and gets an emotional and physical workout over the show's 85 uninterrupted minutes.

Parents, take your teens to this one. It could lead to some very interesting post-show conversations.

The Cinnabar Theater is transformed into a Senior Living Center where perpetually sour resident Abby Binder (Laura Jorgenson) plots to keep her two-bed unit a private room. Perpetually sunny new arrival Marilyn Dunne (Kate Brickley) will have none of that. As a matter of fact, she wants Abby's bed by the window. A battle ensues.

With Ripcord, playwright Lindsay-Abaire (Good People) takes the mismatched-roommates plot and gives it a 21st-century makeover. More than just The Odd Couple with the internet, novice director James Pelican brings a deft comedic hand to the material.

He also has a great cast, with the two leading ladies well-complemented by a charming Kyle Stoner as an orderly, and John Browning, Sarah McKereghan and Chad Yarish in multiple roles. Outside of the many laughs generated in the ladies' room, there are hilarious scenes with lots of physical comedy in a haunted house and a sky-jumping plane.

Teens, take your grandparents to see this laugh-out-loud show.

Rating for both (out of 5): ★★★★

'The Wolves' runs Fri–Sun through Feb. 9 at the Raven Performing Arts Theater, 115 North St., Healdsburg. Fri–Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. $5–$28. 707.433.6335. raventheater.org 'Ripcord' runs through Feb. 16 at Cinnabar Theater, 3333 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma. Fri–Sat, 7:30pm; Sun, 2pm. $20–$32. 707.763.8920. cinnabartheater.org

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