Human connection, technology and relationships are taking the spotlight in the Department of Theatre and New Dance’s next production – “Dead Man’s Cell Phone.”
The play opens with a woman answering the cell phone of a stranger next to her, not realizing he is already dead. The rest of the show follows her enlightening path through life, death, relationships, and technology.
Guest Director Michael Bodie says that as the cast has worked through the script, they see a deeper theme running through the play.
“I think, on first read, you respond to the theme of technology, and its effect on our lives,” He says. “But it also explores nicely how important human connection is, and how we rely on that, even when we’re still plugged into our phones at all times.”
Though the play was written a number of years ago, it continues to be relevant. Technology is more ubiquitous in our culture than ever before, with smartphones, smart refrigerators, and internet connected light bulbs that communicate with each other, Bodie says.
Unlike a more traditional performance, the play will be performed on a thrust stage, with the audience sitting on three sides to allow the audience to see each other instead of fading into the background, adding another layer of human connection throughout the show.
“Theatre is a place where people have to come together, to experience it live, with other humans. There’s no other way to witness what’s happening here. That’s what makes it exciting.”
Bodie, who teaches in the Media Arts & Practice program at University of Southern California, says that he enjoys working with students and helping them constantly improve their craft.
“The [Cal Poly Pomona] students have brought a lot to the table,” he says. “They’ve discovered elements in the script that I missed in the multiple times I read through it prior to the start of our rehearsal process, and they have continued to offer ideas and solutions as we’ve progressed. It’s always a joy, to work with such a motivated and talented group of students.”
“Dead Man’s Cell Phone” opens on April 21 at 8 p.m. in the Studio Theatre, and runs until May 1. Tickets can be purchased online or at the box office one hour prior to the show.