Cell phones, laundromats, and caramel popcorn: Dead Man’s Cell Phone opens February 14

By: Stephanie Jorritsma

This Thursday through Saturday, the Reiland auditorium will be presenting the play Dead Man’s Cell Phone, written by Sarah Ruhl and directed by Hunter Carpenter. 

Dead Man’s Cell Phone centers around a woman named Jean who answers a dead stranger’s cell phone in a café.  She lies about knowing the man and soon finds herself pulled into a world of mystery, love, and loss through the ever-ringing phone.

Though the play is certainly filled with intriguing settings, characters, and situations (think caramel popcorn and laundromats), Dead Man’s Cell Phone also makes statements about life in the modern world.  Carpenter notes that the play combines elements of drama, romance, comedy, and thriller to create a truly unique genre that engages the audience.  Carpenter believes that the play also raises powerful questions about the role technology has and should have in our lives. 

Carpenter states, “We idealize our phone, our technology, more than we realize.  When Jean, our main character, finds herself so attached to this cell phone, it causes her to distance herself from what is her actually reality.”  Carpenter believes that this play will leave audiences pondering ideas about technology, society, and life as a whole.

While this is Hunter Carpenter’s first experience directing a play of full length, he is far from new to the theatre stage.  Carpenter is a senior at UJ majoring in Fine Arts Theatre and Fine Arts Music.  In his last four years, he has acted in ten University productions and three regional professional productions, and has directed two one-act plays.  Carpenter says that he enjoys directing because he gets to observe the growth the actors experience throughout the entire process.  He loves watching a cohesive production come to life.

In speaking about the play, Carpenter notes that strong language is present in the play and advises against bringing young audiences.  However, for mature audiences who are interested, he says, “What better place to spend Valentine’s day weekend than the theatre?  This show has laughs, mystery, love, and drama.  If you like a story that makes you stop and think about society and your own personal life, then this is a must see.”

Dead Man’s Cell Phone will run February 14-16 at 7:30 pm.  Tickets can be purchased in advance at the UJ box office by emailing tickets@uj.edu, or by visiting the box office (open Mon-Fri 3-6pm in Reiland 130).

Tickets are free for students and staff.

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