In today’s world, technology often outlives its owners. Such is the case in Sarah Ruhl’s “Dead Man’s Cell Phone,” a play being performed on campus this weekend.

Masque & Gown’s production of “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” shows just how complicated this occurrence can be, as follows the life of a cell phone after the death of the titular character, Gordon.

“[The play] starts off with a woman in a café who gets fed up with listening to a man’s cell phone ring so she takes charge and answers it herself,” said Lane Sturtevant ’15, one of the co-directors of the show. “She realizes that the man is actually dead so she makes the decision to keep the phone and as a result becomes very involved with his family, his wife, his lover, his mother, his brother, and the play just sort of follows that.”

The show’s cast of six students and production crew of around 20 have been working on an almost daily basis since Winter Break. The co-directors of the show, Sturtevant and Noah Bragg ’15, have worked hard to deal with the limited timetable. 

“We work at such a furious pace to get everything rehearsed,” Bragg said. “You just want everything to be perfect, you want the actors to be perfect and you know it’s not going to be perfect. You just work and you sort of get caught up and then you see the whole thing come together and an actor does something you didn’t expect that you hadn’t done in rehearsal that just works beautifully.”

This is Sturvetant’s first experience with acting and directing at Bowdoin. Having been previously exposed to Ruhl’s work, Sturtevant was keen to direct one of her plays.

“I’d been reading a lot of Sarah Ruhl and I liked her humor and her playfulness and I wanted to direct a play by a contemporary woman playwright for Masque & Gown,” Sturtevant said. 

The leaders of Masque & Gown recommended that Sturtevant co-direct the show with Bragg, who had previously acted in one of Ruhl’s other works. 

Having acted in Masque & Gown’s fall show, “Almost, Maine,” first year Rowan Staley knew immediately that she wanted to audition for “Dead Man’s Cell Phone.” Staley portrays Mrs. Gottlieb, Gordon’s mother. Her role as the “matriarch of the Gottlieb clan” is very dissimilar from that which she usually plays, presenting both challenges and good experiences.

“The most rewarding thing has been playing a character who is so different from myself,” Staley said. “I’ve never played a role that’s this unusual before. I’ve had to stretch myself a lot and the directors have been great in helping me do that.”

After just about one month’s time, the show’s cast and crew are ready to showcase their work to the public.

“[Before the show], you get a lot of adrenaline and everyone’s really excited and hyped up so there’s a lot of fun pre-show rituals like playing loud music in the dressing room,” Staley said.
In addition to last night’s performance, “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” will be performed at Pickard Theatre tonight and tomorrow. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. and lasts around two hours. Tickets can be bought at the David Saul Smith Union info desk for $1 with a Bowdoin ID.