The Bloomsburg University Players performed Sarah Ruhl’s play, Dead Man’s Cell Phone at the Alvina Krause Theatre in Downtown Bloomsburg, from February 22 through the 26.
The play focuses on Jean, played by Gabriella Russo. Jean encounters a dead man at a café and acquires his cell phone. Throughout the play, Jean is fielding calls from the dead man’s cell phone.
Jean meets various people from the dead man’s life. Through the course of her interactions, brought about by her inheritance of the cell phone, she begins forming her own personal relationships.
Although the title of the play may cause some to think the play will be depressing, it’s written as a comedy. The curtain speech tells us the play is supposed to be “whimsical,” and it is just that.
Russo did an amazing job portraying Jean, who was described by other characters “angelic.” She made us believe that Jean was taking care of Gordon’s cell phone, not because of curiosity, or because she was nosey, but because she genuinely wanted to help the poor dead man she encountered in the café.
Much of the comedy comes from the characters of Hermia, played by Jaryn Wilcox, and Mrs. Gottlieb, played by Megan Young. The two characters are completely different, but were both very funny. Wilcox had perfect delivery during the scene when Hermia is drunkenly telling Jean about her relationship with Gordon.
The character most important to Jean by the end of the play is Dwight, the brother of Gordon. BU senior, Ben Deivert, plays Dwight. Dwight is the lovable but quieter Gottlieb brother. Deivert made the audience fall in love with his character, and by the end, we were rooting for him to be with Jean.
A crucial role comes in the form of “The Other Woman/Stranger” played by Lauren Shover. As the name of the character suggests, Shover plays Gordon’s mistress, in a way reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe. She returns in the end of the play, donning a flawless accent to disguise herself. This character is the cause of a very important series of events to follow.
And finally, the dead man; we don’t meet Gordon face to face until the second act. Robert Pellechio brings great life to the dead man. Gordon has an extensive monologue at the very start of the second act and has the audience laughing for the whole thing. We learn about the day that he died, and Pellechio delivered everything perfectly. The audience was left in stitches after his monologue was finished.
One of the most astonishing parts of the play was the choreography of the ensemble. There are several parts of the play that rely on the ensemble, and the choreography of these characters was wonderful. Each person that was on stage in these parts was perfectly in tune with one another. It was spectacular.