Coming off its most successful season to date, UW-Green Bay Theatre will kick off 2011-12 with an October production of Dead Man’s Cell Phone, a contemporary work from playwright Sarah Ruhl. This strange, imaginative tale explores how we memorialize the dead, and the need to connect in a world obsessed with technology.
“It’s a very hard play to describe, but it’s a play about this kind of shut-off woman who comes into the possession of a dead man’s cell phone — she’s in the same café as him when he dies,” said director and UW-Green Bay associate professor John Mariano. “And she comes into the possession of it and gets drawn into his life. She becomes kind of intrigued by this, starts to pretend like she knew him, and feels compelled to sort of make his death OK for the people who knew him.”
UW-Green Bay sophomore Abigail Lee plays Jean, the unsuspecting woman who ends up with the dead man’s cell phone. The production has a little something for everyone, Lee said.
“It has humor and it has some deep questions,” Lee said, “and action, a bit — so, everything, really.”
The play takes some unexpected turns, says director and UW-Green Bay associate professor John Mariano. But viewers will be well rewarded to stick with the strange tale of Ruhl’s protagonist.
“She — without knowing this man at all, and kind of putting the pieces together of his life as she goes through following up on the calls she gets on the cell phone, ends up taking this sort of very strange journey,” Mariano said. “The play kind of travels through very surreal territory by the time it gets to the end.”
Lee, acting in her first UW-Green Bay main stage production, said she enjoys the surrealist touch.
“It’s been interesting to deal with,” Lee said, “but fun, that things go in unexpected ways, the way the show was written.”
Dead Man’s Cell Phone runs Oct. 13-15 and 19-22 in the Jean Weidner Theatre in the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts at UW-Green Bay. Tickets available online or at (920) 465-2400.
To read more about the UW-Green Bay Theatre production of Dead Man’s Cell Phone and see images, click here.