Elizabethtown College Theatre’s ‘Dead Man’s Cell Phone’ explores society’s technologically possessive world
February 20, 2018   //   By:   //   Campus and Community

From the beginning to end, the cast of “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” creates an atmosphere that could only be considered cinematic. Although it was a live theater production, the actors used unique elements to captivate and draw in the audience such as a slow-motion scene, intricate dancing numbers and graphic projections, all of which heighten senses to make way for a more powerful and memorable show.

The story begins with a woman in a café who becomes irritated by the relentless ringing of a cell phone. When she attempts to confront the culprit of the disturbance, she realizes that the man is dead. In addition, the café is conveniently, unexpectedly, abandoned with no customers or employees. Subsequently, the woman sets out on a journey with a continually ringing dead man’s cell phone.

‘Dead Man’s Cell Phone’ is about being closed off to the inner worlds of the people around you.”

“I hope that people feel more purposeful in all of their relationships, whether platonic or romantic, after watching this production,” said Anna Sorrentino, a junior with a double major in theatre and professional writing, who takes the lead role Jean. Sorrentino shared how she enjoyed exploring her characters reactions and described Jean as a “very quiet, introspective woman who is forced to leave her comfort zone many times over the course of the play.”

With a combination of comedy and tragedy, the production motivates people to put technology aside for a bit. “As a whole, ‘Dead Man’s Cell Phone’ is about being closed off to the inner worlds of the people around you. Even though technology has made communication easier, it has also made us closed off from one another. This is not a new phenomenon, of course,” said Sorrentino.

“I am rather resistant to the idea of constantly being present for everyone by carrying a cellphone,” said Richard Wolf-Spencer, associate professor of theatre and director of theatre at Elizabethtown College. “We need to decide what is truly important, adding to those informational bits flying through the air or interacting with those around us?”

The cast performs a catastrophic, yet laughable, voyage of a woman who struggles with her attachment to the world of technology. The story embarks on a philosophical challenge of questioning expectations of morality in a comical nature.

Karleigh Di Figlia, a first-year math education major, watched the recent production and expressed amusement. “There were a lot of different elements that were very good. I really enjoyed the dancing between scenes, they were the most interesting to me,” said Di Figlia.

Sarah Ruhl’s “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” continues at Elizabethtown College’s Tempest Theatre at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22, Friday, Feb. 23, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 25 Tickets are $7 and can be reserved by emailing boxoffice@etown.edu or calling 717-361-1170.

For more information about Elizabethtown College Theatre productions as well as other upcoming events at Elizabethtown College, visit the event calendar online.


About the Author:
Justine Itterly is a junior, studying public relations and graphic design. She is a student athlete who participates in cross country as well as track and field. Her involvement on campus includes being a member of Office of Student Activities and Jay Firm, the College’s student-run, public relations firm. After graduating, Itterly wishes to work in the music industry as a communications coordinator.

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