Contributed Photo

Imagine this: You’re sitting in a cafe minding your own business when the cell phone of a stranger a few feet away from you begins ringing.  At first, you make no notice of it, but when the stranger continues to fail to answer his phone, you wonder what is going on.  You walk over to the stranger, unsure of what is wrong with him, but then increasingly becoming more and more agitated by the endless ringing. You are left feeling as though you must do something.

Would you answer a complete stranger’s cell phone?

Yesterday began the fourth and final major production of Theatre Fairfield’s 2010-2011 season, “Dead Man’s Cell Phone,” a dark comedy by award-winning playwright Sarah Ruhl, which will be running April 12-15 at 8 p.m. and April 16-17 at 2 p.m. in the PepsiCo Theatre.

“Dead Man’s Cell Phone” follows the story of Jean, played by Casey Grambo ’12, who finds herself in the above-mentioned scenario and ultimately decides in favor of answering the complete stranger’s cell phone.

When she realizes that the stranger is dead, she becomes entangled into his life and his relationships—as well as into a web of secrets and lies—all because of her attachment to his cell phone, which inevitably leaves her at the mercy of the dead man’s complicated life.

“Dead Man’s Cell Phone” investigates the nature of the technologically advanced world we live, which has the capacity to both connect as well as detach people from one another.

Jean negotiates this paradox in the following words at the end of Act One: “You know what’s funny?  I never had a cell phone.  I didn’t want to always be there… But it’s like—when everyone has their cell phone on, no one is there.  It’s like we’re all disappearing the more we’re there.”

Director Jeffrey Allen further described the play and specifically the character of Jean. “‘Dead Man’s Cell Phone’ is a love story for disconnected people living in a disconnected age,” he said.  “We have a character who doesn’t own a cell phone and gets wrapped up into this technologically advanced world, but ultimately chooses to live a more authentic life that is connected to reality and to other human beings.”

Cast and crew members have been enduring a rigorous rehearsal process that started mid-February, rehearsing for over 15 hours each week.  In addition to Grambo, the cast includes Michelle Maffeo ’11, Nick Phillips ’11, Amanda Xeller ’11, Victoria Clougher ’12, Nancy Laskowski ’12, Michael Maio ’13, Douglas Daniels ’14, Kaitlin Hoffman ’14, and Grace Janiszewski ’14.

“Being an actor in ‘Dead Man’s Cell Phone’ has given me the opportunity to be someone else and apply my personal experiences to what I am doing on stage,” said Maio.  “This has been a challenge, but having the freedom and capability to create a character is what I love about acting.”

The production team is almost entirely student run, including lighting designer Bradley Fay ’12, stage manager Alexandra Burke ’11, and assistant stage manager Jarrod DePrado ’12, and students get the opportunity to collaborate with director Jeffrey Allen, set designer Shelley Barish, and costume designer Julie Leavitt.

Tickets are $5 for students, $6 for faculty and seniors, and $12 for general admission.  For more information on Theatre Fairfield or their 2010-2011 season, visit

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.