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Dead Man's Cell Phone by Sarah Ruhl

South Coast Repertory

"But credit director Bart DeLorenzo for arriving at a farcical style that doesn't try to be too funny or cute. This death-haunted play is both amusing and not amusing on its own idiosyncratic terms, and the production respects its jaunty distance from everyday realism while recognizing its abiding concerns with the conundrums of human nature." -- Charles McNulty, LA Times


"Beyond the scenography, another key to the surrealism of Dead Man’s Cell Phone was the pacing, something that director Bart DeLorenzo managed adeptly through the juxtaposition of calm and commotion. Within the monologues and duologues, actors were frequently seated or still, suggesting a yearning for tranquility in otherwise fragmented and fearful lives. Working with the scenery, DeLorenzo positioned actors against the negative space to show the emotional isolation felt by many (Jean, Dwight, Mrs. Gottlieb) and the tepid humanity of others (Gordon and his coworker). But changes of scenes were comically abrupt, even aggressive, with scenery almost yanked from the stage. More than once, characters, Jean especially, were left stumbling to right themselves as the furniture disappeared, resulting in the loss of what little sense of emplacement characters had found. One could almost hear DeLorenzo shouting 'Allegro!' during rehearsals. Visually, the effect reinforced the play’s concerns with the frenetic tempo of contemporary life." -- J. Chris Westgate, Theatre Journal



West Coast premiere at South Coast Repertory, September 2008


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