‘Dead Man’s Cell Phone’ shows people’s reliance on technology in a comedic way

The theatre department presented the first showing of their fall production “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” on Oct. 2.  

Notes from the director, included inside the production program pamphlet, describe its author Sarah Ruhl’s plays as a striking and interesting balance between the ordinary and the fantastic through an imaginative and vivid theatricality.  

Ruhl is an award winning playwright, has written more than eight plays and is currently on the faculty at Yale School of Drama.  

Director and Theatre Department Chair Cheri Fortin said that one of the best things she enjoys about orchestrating a production such as this is helping the actors grow and blossom into beautiful performers.

“All of the work that we do here really means something when the audience comes to see the show,” Fortin said. “The experience has been overwhelmingly positive. I’m so proud of this.”

The play’s themes focus primarily on the affects technological dependence has had on our connection with the world around us. It may leave you wondering if we are really here.  

A theatre production is a massively collaborative effort between every cast member and all those involved with the technical stage production. “It happens in collaboration. It doesn’t happen in isolation.” Fortin said.

Fortin also said that plays are chosen the theatre department believes will help further the artistry of the students and help their academic development as aspiring actors.  Productions are decided on a curriculum criteria basis.  

Theatre major Justine Lopez, 22-years-old, plays the grieving mother Mrs. Gottlieb. Gottlieb’s dearly departed son, Gordon Gottlieb, is the dead man to whom the cell phone belongs.  He is played by student actor Theodore Butler.    

“It was such a good production,” said Lopez. “I’m really glad how it turned out great audience and great laughs. It was a killah show.”

Don’t let the seemingly morbid title fool you, “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” is a comedy and it’s intention is to make you laugh.

Production began early August and the cast regularly attended systematic rehearsals for several weeks before the production’s opening night.

Anthony Arellano, 20-year-old theatre major, made his acting debut as Dwight.  

Dwight Gottlieb is the brother of the dead man to whom the cell phone belongs.  Though his brother is in fact the dead man, it is Dwight who spends more time on stage during this production.

“What was most interesting and enticing was the characters themselves,” Arellano said. he was drawn to the nerdiness and awkwardness of his character, though originally he auditioned for Butler’s character.

He said that one of the toughest things for the cast was to accept a role and really live in a character’s shoes.  

The last showing of the play will be on Oct. 16 and 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the Black Box.