Quad City Theatre Workshop recently closed a successful run of Dead Man's Cell Phone directed by Thomas Alan Taylor. With a healthy dose of realism and surrealism, this performance kept the audience on the edge of their seats.
Dead Man's Cell Phone follows Jean once she decides she's going to keep Gordon's cell phone with her after discovering he is dead in a coffee shop. Jean wants to believe that he was a good person, and trying to keep his memory alive, she meets his family and tells white lies about him to keep them happy. The show has an equal amount of laughter and sentimental moments in addition to some action.
The cast included some experienced local actors, such as Jessica Taylor as Jean, Mike Schulz as Gordon, Susan Perrin-Sallak as Mrs. Gottlieb and even St. Ambrose junior Abbie Carpenter as an ensemble member.
This was first Carpenter's first professional theatre experience, and she said she hopes to work with QC Theatre Workshop again.
"I found the cast and production team to be very welcoming, helpful and downright hilarious to work with," Carpenter said.
The set was simplistic with aesthetic touches, such as windows in the back of the café. Scenic designer Luke Hansen fully utilized the space. However, difficulty came with the audience on three sides of the thrust-style stage. Occasionally, it was difficult to find where the focus was meant to be.
Through this script, it seemed playwright Sarah Ruhl may be telling the audience that cell phones aren't always terrible distractions that take away from the real world. One might get that impression after listening to Mrs. Gottlieb's rant about cell phones, but there is a touching note toward the end that assures cell phones aren't so bad after all. Thomas Alan Taylor effectively demonstrated this theme by tying together the various elements.