Theatre Fairfield concludes its 2010-2011 season with Sarah Ruhl's Dead Man's Cell Phone at Fairfield University



Image: Theatre FairfieldTheatre Fairfield, Fairfield University's student production company, concludes the 2010-2011 season with award-winning playwright Sarah Ruhl's "Dead Man's Cell Phone," a quirky comedy about how our lives and relationships have become transformed because of technology. Performances are at the PepsiCo Theatre, Tuesday through Friday, April 12-15 at 8:00 p.m. with 2 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday, April 16 and 17. This Theatre Fairfield event is an Arts & Minds presentation.

The play follows events in the life of Jean, a lover of memories and relationships, played by Casey Grambo '12. Jean's world gets turned upside down when she answers the cell phone of the man sitting at the café table next to her - that is, the dead man sitting at the café table next to her. With that simple and well-meaning act, Jean's life becomes more strange and bizarre than she could have ever imagined. The play chronicles her journey as she sets forth to tie up the dead man's loose ends and set things right in his sinister life. Guest director Jeffrey Allen, artistic director of Oddfellows Playhouse in Middletown, describes the essence of the play thus: "In a world where the phone keeps ringing, one woman finds the courage to take a stand, and finds her heart along the way. Real connection trumps technology."

In Fairfield Theatre productions all cast members are called to every rehearsal not only to understand the production process, but also to contribute creative energy and thoughtful comments. Allen notes, "As we work on the text of such an exceptional writer as Sarah Ruhl, I join the cast in discovering that the space between lines is as loaded as the words themselves. The text's rich images challenge us all to interpret lines into action that is immediate and becomes alive. Equally, the energy and creativity of the cast and production team excites me. The free exchange of ideas and information is a gift, and rehearsing is a pleasure every night. The more time we spend in rehearsal, the greater is our investment in understanding this story and why it is so important."

Cast member Amanda Xeller '11 declares, "This process has allowed me to have a clearer perspective on the impact technology, specifically cell phones, has had on our lives." And Grambo states, "Working on this show has given me a new understanding of relationships - why people choose to have them and be in them and why people judge, analyze, and criticize them."

 The cast also includes several other veteran Theatre Fairfield performers including Michelle Maffeo '11, Nick Phillips '11, Victoria Clougher '12, Nancy Laskowski '12, Michael Maio '13, and Grace Janiszewski '14. Making their debuts in the cast of "Dead Man's Cell Phone" are Douglas Daniels '14 and Kaitlin Hoffman '14.

In addition to Allen, the outstanding professional artistic and technical staff includes set designer and Fairfield University alumna Shelley Barish, resident costume designer Julie Leavitt, who recently designed the fall production of "Almost, Maine," and lighting designer Bradley Fay '12. This is Fay's second assignment as lighting designer for Theatre Fairfield. His first plot was seen earlier in the year in "Dumpster Dan" as a part of "Director's Cut." The show has original music composed by Fairfield University graduate student Lance Boose. The production team is rounded out with Alexandra Burke '11, stage manager and Jarrod DePrado '12, assistant stage manager.

Tickets are $12 general admission, $6 for seniors and University staff, and $5 for students. To order, call the Quick Center Box Office at (203) 254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396. For more information visit fairfield.edu/quick.

Image: Michael Maio '13 and Grace Janiszewski '14 in "Almost Maine"

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Media Contact: Joan Grant, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, jgrant@fairfield.edu

Posted on March 24, 2011

Vol. 43, No. 249