An incessantly ringing cell phone in a quiet café. A stranger at the next table who has had enough. And a dead man – with a lot of loose ends. So begins Dead Man’s Cell Phone, a wildly imaginative and off-center romantic comedy by MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipient, Pulitzer Prize finalist, and one of America’s hottest new playwrights, Sarah Ruhl (The Clean House).
A lonely woman is forced to confront her assumptions about morality, redemption and the need to connect in a technologically obsessed world as she steps into the life of a dead man by taking his cell phone calls. What starts as a moment of frustration quickly turns into a bond of curious loyalty when Jean finds herself caught in the middle of another man’s tangled web of relationships and family. Acting as his mouthpiece, Jean soon discovers different types of connections that go beyond the physical, tapping into the psychological, the emotional and even…the afterlife.
“Dead Man’s Cell Phone is a funny, quirky play tinged with magical realism, but Sarah’s humor is so grounded in reality and so honest that it’s easy to go along for the ride,” says director Richard Israel. “She was amazingly prescient when she wrote this. Now, with smart phones and texting, it’s become even harder for us to connect – we not only need never look anyone in the eye, we no longer even need to speak to one another. This play humorously examines how human beings try to reach each other.”
Winner of the Helen Hayes Award for Best New Play, Dead Man’s Cell Phone was first presented in 2007 at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington D.C. before going to New York City, where it opened at Playwrights Horizons starring Mary Louise Parker.
Dead Man’s Cell Phone runs Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays @ 8 pm and Sundays @ 2 pm, June 5 through June 30. Two preview performances take place on Wednesday, June 5 and Thursday, June 6 @ 8 pm. Tickets are $38 on Thursdays and $45 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, except opening night which is s$50 and includes a reception with the actors following the performance. Preview tickets are $29. International City Theatre is located in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center at 300 E. Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach, CA 90802. For reservations and information, call the ICT Box Office at 562-436-4610 or www.InternationalCityTheatre.com.