Friday, October 3, 2008

A Reading of Dead Man's Cell Phone by Sarah Ruhl

Posted by Billy Christopher Maupin

"You know what's funny? I never had a cell phone. I didn't want to always be there, you know."

photoWhat would you do in response to an incessantly ringing cell phone as you were trying to enjoy your lobster bisque in a near-empty cafe? Jean, who lies at the center of Sarah Ruhl's most recently published (and my personal favorite) play, Dead Man's Cell Phone, answers it. As it turns out, the owner of the phone, Gordon, is dead. But Jean continues to answer Gordon's phone and finds herself meeting his family, falling in love with his brother -which results in a room full of floating stationery in "classic" Sarah Ruhl style-, meeting his mistress...AND his wife, and becoming involved in organ trafficking.

Charles Isherwood writes in the New York Times:

"A beguiling comedy ... a hallucinatory poetic fantasy that blends the mundane and the metaphysical, the blunt and the obscure, the patently bizarre and the bizarrely moving. As Dead Man's Cell Phone takes surprising twists and leaps, the lament for the supposed coziness of pre-digital culture takes on layers of nuance and contradiction. Characters in Ruhl's plays negotiate the no man's land between the every­day and the mystical, talking like goofs one minute and philosophers the next. And her characters' quirkiness is in keeping, too, with the play's doleful central theme, that each human being is a book full of surprises even to intimates, and that one is destined to be left unfinished. Ruhl's affec­tion for the unexpected phrase, the kooky observation, the unlikely juxtaposition, is essential to her central belief that the smallest and most trivial things in life can be charged with meaning. She writes surrealist fantasies that happen to be populated by eccentrically real people, comedies in which the surface illogic of dreams is made meaningful­ -made truthful- by the deeper logic of human feeling."

On Monday, October 6, on the Barksdale Theatre Lobby Stage at photo8PM, Barksdale and The Firehouse Theatre Project will co-produce a reading of Ms. Ruhl's Dead Man's Cell Phone featuring cast members from our production of The Clean House (see Rave Reviews below) and Firehouse's production of Eurydice. This continues as part of the Sarah Ruhl Festival. (Don't forget that audience members who see both Eurydice and The Clean House receive a discount on tickets!)

The reading will feature Laine Satterfield - currently appearing as the title character in Eurydice - as Jean (played in the New York production by Mary Louise Parker, Tony Award winner for her performance in Proof by David Auburn, also the star of the hit Showtime series, Weeds), Andy Boothby - Big Stone in Eurydice - as Gordon, the "Dead Man" of the title, Robin Arthur - Ana and A Woman in The Clean House - as Mrs. Gottlieb, Lauren Leinhaas-Cook - Loud Stone in Eurydice - as Gordon's widow, Hermia, John Moon - Charles and A Man in The Clean House- narrating, Bianca Bryan - Matilde in The Clean House - as The Other Woman, and Chris Hester - Orpheus in Eurydice - as Dwight. The reading will be staged by Jase Smith from The Firehouse Theatre Project.

Both Bruce Miller and Carol Piersol (Artistic Director of The Firehouse Theatre Project) will speak prior to the reading. A cash bar will be available in the lobby beginning at 7PM and will also be available at intermission. There is no admission charge and seating is general admission.

Don't miss out on this exciting collaboration!

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