by TRACY ZOLLINGER TURNER
Film and theater roles for women over 50 have traditionally stayed in a narrow lane—one filled with maternal or spinster archetypes. The Roommate, penned by playwright Jen Silverman, is a dark comedy that aims to break that mold. “Older women are often depicted in a way that belies the truth,” says Indianapolis-based actor Constance Macy. “They aren’t the 50-something women I know.”
Cardinal Stage will present The Roommate at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center from January 30 to February 16.
The play has two main characters: Sharon is a recently divorced Iowa mother who seeks a roommate for her home; Robyn is a mysterious New Yorker who moves in with her, played by Macy. “They are vastly different and come from completely different worlds, as far as their life experience,” Macy says. “Robyn is running from her past, and she’d like to change her course. Sharon doesn’t realize how much of her life has been unexplored until she meets Robyn.”
Through their relationship, Sharon, who begins as more of a maternal, Midwestern caricature, “peels off the layers of her own expectations about being a wife and mother,” Macy says. She adds that the women “get into some illegal things together,” which gives the play a Breaking Bad feel.
“It’s a very funny journey, and also tender and sweet,” Macy says. “It’s about the kind of friendship that two women can share, and the love and the intrigue of that. It’s a story about women, but it’s for everyone. It’s a funny play and it’s a play that will also surprise you and move you.”
Macy became aware of The Roommate as its made its way into productions around the country. She says she was looking for an opportunity to play the role of Robyn. “As I’ve come into my middle age, I feel like there are a growing number of roles for women that just get richer and juicier—or maybe I do,” she reflects. “Maybe we all do.”
Macy has performed several times in Cardinal Stage productions. Audiences may best remember her as Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in 2014.
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit cardinalstage.org.