by Nancy Holley
Special KRL coupon for this show at the end of this article
In the current era, a favored ring tone or expected vibration is generally as welcome as the flowers in May of another generation, but when Jean (Sara Lupercio) is writing the most important letter of her life, the insistent ringing of a cell phone is not a welcome disturbance. According to Lupercio, Jean is awkward, withdrawn, and nervous, but longs to be around people. “You wouldn’t pick her out in a crowd, but there is so much more to her – like a hidden gem.”
Director Ryan Pullen describes Dead Man’s Cell Phone as a dark comedy about our need to connect in a digital world. Pullen identifies Jean as the central character who shows growth throughout the play “transitioning from making connections virtually to making them interpersonally.” Pullen defines the remaining characters as archetypes of how we insolate ourselves from all the digital options available through technology. “As an example, Dwight focuses on the real world through paper.”
Gordon (a.k.a. The Dead Man), portrayed by Art Schlater, appears to be “the guy next door.” As the play unfolds, he is revealed as an organ trafficker with a wife and a mistress. In addition, he has his own sense of morality, which he follows very closely. Schlater sees Gordon as a man who believes in what he is doing and wants others to understand why it is important. “He wants to help people live through receiving needed organs, and if he makes a buck, so be it.”
Dwight (Patrick Greer) is Gordon’s younger brother who likes paper and the written word. He is not close to Gordon who picked on Dwight when they were children. Greer describes Dwight as an “awkward sweet character who falls for Jean through coincidence.”
Mrs. Gottleib (Randi Saul-Olson), Gordon and Dwight’s mother, is a rather despicable person. According to Saul-Olson, Gottleib tries to present herself as a kind, upscale, well-mannered dowager, but the veneer does not last as she quickly reveals her true self – a foul-mouthed, foul-tempered old lady. Boundaries have no meaning for Gottleib; “she is horrible, and I love her.”
Hermia (Katie Welch), Gordon’s wife is nervous, uptight, and very straitlaced until she starts to drink and then “she opens up inappropriately.” Welch describes Hermia as a very lonely woman who did not love her husband but who is “sad he is not in her life because she is so used to him.” As a recovering alcoholic, Welch connects with Hermia, hearing herself in Hermia’s inappropriate behavior.
The Other Woman/The Stranger (Trinaty Fletcher) calls Gordon a wanderer who keeps coming back to her. Fletcher describes her character as confident; a woman who is always noticed when she walks into a room.
All the cast members are excited about Dead Man’s Cell Phone, and believe that adult audiences of all ages will find something to which they can relate. For Lupercio, it is a smart comedy with a quiet simplicity–a beautiful, clever adventure. Schlater depicts the show as exploring the human condition in which we justify ourselves. “It is okay to do this because…..”. Greer identifies the show as forward driven and cutting edge. Other descriptors are very funny and exciting. Pullen creates interest with “as Jean’s connections become more authentic, the play becomes very surreal.”
Dead Man’s Cell Phone, opens at the Ice House Theater at Race and Santa Fe in Visalia at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 16, 2012 and runs for three weekends with evening performances at 7:30 p.m. on 3/16, 3/17, 3/23, 3/24, 3/30, and 3/31 and matinees at 2:00 p.m. on 3/18, 3/25, and 4/1.
For more information about the Visalia Community Players, check out their website and KRL’s article about VCP. For details about local arts groups in Tulare County, visit the Visalia Arts Consortium website.
Print this page and take to the show to get discount:
Visalia Community Players Two-For-One Coupon
Dead Man’s Cell Phone
By Sarah Ruhl
Admit 2 Adults for $12.00
Coupon good for any performance of the play.
One Coupon Per Family
Reservations Suggested – 559-734-3900
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