The Hardin-Simmons University Theatre Department will open playwright Sarah Ruhl’s “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” on Thursday, Feb.16 at 7 p.m. in Down Center Stage Theatre in the basement of Van Ellis.. Additional shows will be performed on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
“While I am nervous about being the lead for the first time, I am also over-the-moon excited about showing off what I have learned about the acting process through this play,” Abbey Pardue, freshman Christian studies and theater education double major from Lubbock, said. “I have enjoyed growing through this play and adding more skills to my repertoire.”
The play follows a girl named Jean who answers Gordon’s phone and later finds out he died. She pretends to have known him while he was alive in order to comfort his family and loved ones and falls in love with his brother.
“The play reminds me a lot of Steven Levenson’s ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ and Broadway fans will enjoy that connection,” Pardue said. “I find that the characters that are the most flawed can be extremely compelling to an audience, even if almost everything they say is a lie.”
“Dead Man’s Cell Phone” was written to depict how modern technology can both unite and isolate people. While Jean became close to Gordon’s family, the need to lie leaves her feeling more alone and stuck in her false reality than she intended.
“Even though the play originally opened in 2007, the message stands true to today, almost more so,” Pardue said. “It can be tempting to lie on social media to look cool, but it ultimately should be used in order to maintain connections with friends and family. I hope that the audience is able to enjoy the play while still seeing the poetic nature Rhul intended it to have.”