Santa Fe, the city with an anti-WiFi movement and neighbors who sue one another for iPhone-poisoning, may be the perfect venue for a play about cellphones. Sarah Ruhl’s comedy, Dead Man’s Cell Phone, which played Off-Broadway in 2008 in a production starring Mary-Louise Parker, is now at Santa Fe Playhouse.
Imagine that you are trying to enjoy your lunch in a café, and there is the continual ringing of a cellphone within earshot. You go over to the phone’s owner to ask him to silence the thing and realize he’s dead. It’s only logical, isn’t it, as Catherine Donavon, directing her eighth show at the Playhouse tells it, “that the woman starts to answer the phone.” As soon as Jean, the main character, picks up the ringing phone and flips it open, she becomes, as New York Times reviewer Charles Isherwood wrote, “the dead man’s social secretary.” “Hello,” she says, “No, he’s not. Can I take a message?”
“The play is very quirky, a little bit on the surreal side, and great fun,” said Donavon, speaking to Pasatiempo. “It also says a lot about where we are today. How we communicate. How technology has taken over our lives.”
Yakety yak, don’t talk back: Cynthia Anne Roser as Jean and Jason Max Adams as the dead man