As the quarter nears its end, Bellevue College’s Theater Arts Department gets ready to put on their fall play. The department synopsizes their play as: “A man dies in a café. His phone rings. When Jean answers it, she enters a world of compassion, comfort, corporate espionage and connection in our highly technological world.”
As the description is quite vague, students might assume “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” is primarily about some sort of mystery. However, Chair of the drama department, Tammi Doyle, says that beyond mystery “it is actually kind of a look at love and joy. It’s a play about love. It’s about cell phones and messages…It’s sensual. What is tactile? Real connection versus fake connection…It sounds somber, but it’s actually really funny. It’s a comedy…it’s totally a rom-com with an edge.”
The play will run two hours including intermission, and follows protagonist Jean through the aftermath of answering the ringing cell phone of the deceased Gordon, someone who she has no connection to whatsoever and “develops all these relationships because of that,” explained Doyle. “That is what really sets the play off.”
Brian Ollivier, who plays Gordon, claimed: “There are real moments that are created that people will be able to relate to in this show. Many of the moments we have are the same kinds of things that others go through in life. A major theme of “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” is the concept of mourning, and how that process affects all of us: mothers, brothers, widowers, even strangers. Each of us leave an imprint on everyone we meet, so what happens when the imprint is left by someone who is no longer with us? What kinds of things would we do to mend the broken hearts of those left behind? Can we truly love that which we do not know?”
Charlie Schuster, who plays Jean, also said the story “is laced with a lot of nuance and messages. Memories and technology and love and loss. Greed, selfishness, selflessness. I think it’s the kind of show you walk away from having found exactly what you needed.
Ollivier also said the play’s writer, Sarah Ruhl: “has some fantastic work in this show that we do our utmost to bring to life. She layers all of the characters enough so that no one person is without depth. All of the people involved with bringing this show to life deserve to be recognized for the fantastic work they are all putting in. From the leads to the ensemble performers, the director and the stage crew, to the technical designers. This is a great show and it will be a good time for all who come to see it.”
“Dead Man’s Cell Phone” is running from Nov. 13 to 22 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can only be purchased at Brownpapertickets.com and will not be sold at the door.