Final Curtain Call

| Andrea Hucke reporter |

The simple act of answering a call isn’t usually a life-changing event. However, for the main character in tonight’s production of Sarah Ruhl’s “Dead Man’s Cell Phone,” picking up the phone does just that.
Pittsburg State’s Department of Communication will be presenting the play at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 24, until Saturday, April 26, in the Grubbs Studio Theater. A final performance will be at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 27.
The play, a comedy, depicts modern society’s fascination with technology in a surrealistic and quirky way.
“It’s all about technology and how we can get caught up in it so easily,” said Cynthia Allan, chair of the department and director of the play. “It shows how we’re connected with more people than ever before, but at the same time we’re not in touch.”
Ruhl’s piece demonstrates this connectedness by following the life of a woman who unknowingly becomes intertwined with the family and associates of a recently deceased man, all because she answered his cell phone.
All of the play’s action will be accompanied by a new aspect of the performance: a live soundtrack provided by local bluegrass and alternative rock band “Deadeye.”
“One of the most exciting parts of putting on this production has been collaborating with ‘Deadeye,’ which has written original music for the play,” Allan said. “They’ll also be playing music between scenes and providing sound effects to go along with the show.”
The coordinators of the play first contacted Deadeye about writing the music last summer, when the piece was selected. Since then, those involved with the production have been hard at work.
“It’s been in the works for at least the last 10 months,” Allan said. “Auditions and rehearsals started in early March, we had design discussions in January, and our last practices have been all about ironing things out and getting the timing down.”
Apart from Allan and the local band, the cast features 11 students, majoring in various fields across campus. Students are also in charge of the lighting and set design.
“It’s a completely student-run show because they’re involved in almost every aspect of putting it on,” Allan said.
The upcoming performances of “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” are not only the last of the semester, but are also the final productions to attract audiences to the Grubbs Studio Theater.
Beginning in February, the communication department’s presentations will be in the Center for the Arts.
“I’m really excited to be moving over there and I hope everyone is too, especially the students,” Allan said. “With complete scene and costume shops, it’ll be a terrific learning environment.”
Allan says she is confident that theater supporters in the community will attend this year’s final production of the department.
“We’ve always had great audiences for our shows and I think that will only continue as we transition over to the Performing Arts Center,” she said.

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