The device that you are usually told to turn off or put to silent in a theater is the biggest piece to the main spring production. In Dead Man’s Cell Phone, originally written by Sara Ruhl, the main character Jean goes through a transformation in which she answers a random man’s cell phone and completes many life changing tasks.
By answering the man’s cell phone, which annoyingly does not stop ringing on the café table next to her, Jean, played by junior Sara Cushing, is forced to learn about the man’s life. In the process, she learns some strange details about his mistress, mother, wife, and estranged son.
In this dark comedy, Jean answers each of the cell phone calls only to find out more details about this man’s life, most of which she wishes she didn’t know. Sara describes the character Jean as someone who is “plain” and would rather go unnoticed than be involved in conflict. Because of this fact, it becomes comical when Jean becomes involved in the conflict of the dead man’s family.
In the playwright, there are many different setting changes which Ann West, the assistant director, said will be evident due to the changes in lighting, music and props around the actors. “We can get creative with what we want to do with each scene, we have immovable flats but are able to make each setting look different by changing the lighting and background music for each scene,” stated Ann as she talked about the set.
As Jean goes through her long day of answering calls from the dead man’s cell phone, there are many messages that the audience can take away from the playwright according to West. “We want the audience to think about how much they rely on their technologies. The play is emphasizes the battle between technology verses organic connection,” said Cushing, talking about one of the main themes of the play.
The play’s director is Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead who has put a lot of time and effort into making the play look its best. Recently, she made the decision to move the production from the black box theater in Griffiths to the larger Guelick Theater so that they can have a bigger stage to work with and a larger audience.
“Ann Marie has been very patient, energetic and welcoming to accept new things from the rest of the crew and cast. She has created a comfortable setting for all of us to work in,” indicated West, when talking about Ann Marie’s fantastic involvement in making the play.
The play is anticipated to draw out a large crowd of not only St. Lawrence students, but also, community members as well. Hopefully, students will turn off their electronic devices long enough to really absorb and appreciate not only the plot of the play, but the talent of their peers as well. Dead Man’s Cell Phone will be playing here at St. Lawrence this upcoming week, Wednesday through Saturday and it will be something worth talking about.