Cap & Bells to Present ‘Dead Man’s Cell Phone’

Thursday, February 10, 2011

PHILADELPHIA (Feb. 9, 2011)—Mobile technology has taken over our lives. From status updates to social check-ins, it seems that there’s nothing we can’t accomplish with our phones. But how does our constant digital connection to others affect the way we exit this world? Saint Joseph's University’s Cap & Bells Dramatic Arts Society explores this question in Dead Man’s Cell Phone, the second production of its 83rd season. The show opens on Thursday, Feb. 17 at 8 p.m., and runs through Sunday, Feb. 27.

Written by Pulitzer Prize finalist Sarah Ruhl, the play follows a young woman named Jean who picks up an unanswered cell phone only to find out that its unresponsive owner is actually deceased. She sets out to inform his family and friends about his passing and, in doing so, learns more than she expected about him and about herself. Dead Man’s Cell Phone opened in 2007 in Washington, D.C., and premiered off-Broadway in 2008. This is the first time the show has been performed, by professionals or amateurs, in Philadephia.

“The show explores how we live, how we die, and how we relate to each other in a technology-obsessed age,” says Laura Pattillo, Ph.D., assistant professor of English and the show’s director. “It looks at how we use technology to either escape personal interaction or to enhance it.”

The play is told through the style of magic realism, which presents fantastic and realistic elements togethe. “Jean’s path is like an adult’s version of The Wizard of Oz or Alice in Wonderland,” Pattillo says. “The show is dark and strange, but it’s also very funny and very sweet.”

Pattillo cautions that, because of frankly worded discussions of adult subject matter, Dead Man’s Cell Phone is not recommended for children under the age of 14. The show runs Feb. 17-19 and 25-26 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 27 at 2 p.m. in Bluett Theatre, Post Hall, on Overbrook Ave. near 56th Street. Tickets are $16 for general admission, $9 for all students and SJU faculty and staff and $5 for senior citizens and children under 12. To reserve tickets, call 610-660-1181. For more information on the show or Cap & Bells, visit

Cap & Bells’ season concludes in April with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic musical The Phantom of the Opera.

Media Contact

Jeffrey Martin, Office of University Communications, 610-660-3223,

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