The Virgin Valley Theatre Group opens their final 2015-16 season production with Dead Man’s Cell Phone Friday, May 6 at the Mesquite Community Theatre, show time is 7 p.m. Dead Man’s Cell Phone is rated “R.”
The play begins with a ringing cell phone in a quiet café, a stranger at the next table who has had enough and a dead man with a lot of loose ends. Dead Man’s Cell Phone is an abstract comedy by MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipient and Pulitzer Prize finalist, Sarah Ruhl.
“Dead Man’s Cell Phone is about how we memorialize the dead and how that remembering changes us. It is the journey of a woman forced to confront her own ideas about morality, redemption, and the need to connect in a technologically obsessed world.” (Samuel French Inc.)
The play is directed by long time VVTG member Teri Nehrenz. Nehrenz has appeared in many of the VVTG’s productions including Agnes of God, Nana’s Naughty Knickers and Murder Inn to name a few. Nehrenz directing credits include Fly Willie, My Three Angels and Love Letters. Nehrenz says, “Dead Man’s Cell Phone is an abstract, off-beat and comical exploration of how electronically connected and socially disconnected society has become in our digital world.”
Dead Man’s Cell Phone stars Paul Benedict as Gordon Gottleib, the dead man and Jenna Grubb as Jean. Both Benedict and Grubb have appeared in numerous VVTG productions. The two lead the show with a great back-up cast of characters.
Newcomers Cathy Sierra and Patty Amore play Harriet and Hermia Gottleib, the mother and wife of Gordon. Gary Williams, (Anything Goes and Nana’s Naughty Knickers) plays Dwight, Gordon’s brother and Joan Pelliccio (Nana’s Naughty Knickers and Fly Willie) plays Gordon’s ex-business partner and mistress, Carlotta.
Matt McDonald and Chad Calmelat are understudies for Benedict and Williams (Gordon and Dwight) and will be performing in the May 14 production giving the audience a very different but equally entertaining version of Sarah Ruhl’s characters.
Benedict’s acting talents weren’t the only gift he utilized for this production; he also constructed the audio and video portions of Dead Man’s Cell Phone giving the audience a comical look at people’s obsession with one particular digital tool, the cell phone which will have the audience both laughing out loud and holding their breath at times.
Dead Man’s Cell Phone is produced by special arrangement between the VVTG and Samuel French Inc. Additional performance dates are: May 7, 13, 14, 20 and 21 at 7 p.m. and May 15 at 2 p.m. For more information on the Virgin Valley Theatre Group visit their website at www.vvtgnv.com.