Directed by Karen Randazzo
Auditions have been rescehduled for Tuesday, December 17 from 7pm to approximately 10pm.
Rehearsals begin in January with a read-thru likely, January 13. Full rehearsals to start around January 27.
Production runs March 14 through 29 in The Dressing Room Theatre.
Those auditioning should be ready to read from the script. All roles are open / non-union actors only.
An incessantly ringing cell phone in a quiet café. A stranger at the next table who has had enough. And a dead man with a lot of loose ends. So begins DEAD MAN’S CELL PHONE, a wildly imaginative new comedy by Sarah Ruhl, award-winning author of The Clean House and Eurydice. A work about how we memorialize the dead and how that remembering changes us. It is the odyssey of a woman forced to confront her own assumptions about morality, redemption, and the need to connect in a technologically obsessed world. “In her new oddball comedy, Ruhl is forever vital in her lyrical and biting takes on how we behave." - The Washington Post (FOR MATURE AUDIENCES)
Jean, a woman: (age range 20s-30s) Jean is an enigmatic and slightly bohemian presence; a free-spirit with an old soul. She is ultimately a reactive character who approaches the situation of a dead man in the next booth with a mixture of empathy and obsessive-compulsiveness. There is a charming awkwardness about her both in her appearance and in her interactions with others that evolves into a more polished presence as she becomes enmeshed with the Gottliebs. Her background is a mystery, but her goal is ultimately to comfort those who survive Gordon to the point of lying about the messages he had for them. She is a blank slate of sorts who evolves through the various encounters of the play into an interesting a desirable woman. She is empathetic, curious, middle-classed, lonely, and driven by the faulty moral values in her head. She sees her actions as completely justifiable and necessary. A note about Jean: We should see her as a way for the audience to enter and connect with the story. She must be human and understandable, even when she is doing the unfathomable.
A note about The Gottliebs and their ilk: The world of the Gottlieb clan is comparable to the world of the Kennedys or Rockefellers which is both foreign and enticing to Jean and our audience. Quirky, arrogant, entitled, eccentric, other-worldly are a few adjectives to describe them.
Gordon, a dead man: (age range 30s-50s) Gordon is an amoral character with a gift for charming you into accepting his behavior, no matter how reprehensible. He deals in black market organs for a living and can completely justify any action in a logical and convincing manner, if one doesn’t think about his logic too much. Before his death, he is a handsome, wealthy philanderer who loves a conquest more than a personal connection. He approaches the afterlife with the same amoral curiosity that guided his life. His people are moneyed and may have come upon hard times of late, which justifies his shady dealings in his mind. He is his mother’s favorite to a fault. This chosen status may explain his lack of remorse for his actions. He has been estranged from his mother for some time at the time of his death. He has a secret yearning to be the ultimate “Dancing with the Stars” contestant, though his dance skills may be dubious at best.
Mrs. Harriet Gottlieb, Gordon’s mother: (age range 40s-60s) An elegant and pampered woman who has been raised to be the arbiter of taste and behavior in her family and community, Harriet has lost the most important person in her life as the play’s action unfolds, and she realizes she will never recover from this loss. This may surprise her slightly because her past has been governed by privilege and ease. She is upper-class and perhaps has always come from money. She may have married beneath her, though this is not specified in the script. If so, her husband was coarser and cruder than her people, but she admired his drive and crudeness to the point of distraction from how it affected their sons. Harriet’s beauty is still evident, either due to good breeding or a bit of nip and tucking. In either case she looks younger than her years would indicate. Her life is Gordon, even though they are estranged at the time of his death. She is slightly outrageous in attire and speech, questioning the norms of how one grieves, and perhaps making her dress deliberately provocatively to show her distain for social norms. This may make her a bit of a rebel in our eyes. As the play progresses, she develops a bit of a drinking problem.
Hermia, Gordon’s widow: (age range 30s-50s) Hermia is an unhappy widow who didn’t realize how much her marriage and husband meant to her before they were both gone. She is a woman of means who looks the other way through her husband multiple affairs. Her biggest regret is her inability to do the same with his business activities. She is disgusted by his business and this affects her ability to express love and sexuality with her husband. She is a highly sexual woman and perhaps an alcoholic.
Dwight, Gordon’s brother: (age range 20s-30s) A loveable nerd, Gordon runs a stationary and greeting card shop and marches to his own drum. This is a trait he shares with Jean, and this may be a factor that bonds them early on. He has always been on his own emotionally due to his mother’s obsession with Gordon and the early loss of his father. He is emotionally guarded and Jean’s biggest accomplishment is breaking through this barrier to uncover his regret over his brother and their estrangement and his lack of parental support. He must be able to move from quirky to emotionally raw through the course of the play. Though a nerd, he does have a handsomeness and sex appeal that mirrors his brother’s which becomes more apparent as the play progresses.
Carlotta, the other woman: (age range 20s) She is a lethal woman, a femme fatale from a bygone age. Her role models are: Bette Davis, Lana Turner, Joan Crawford, Barbara Stanwyck and Billie Holiday. These influences are apparent in her mannerisms and her attire. She is a retro siren. Her love of these images from the 30s and 40s influences her attitude towards today’s women, who she finds lack the self-confidence and the dignity of her idols. Her attitudes are almost of an older drag queen in this respect. Affiliated with Gordon’s business in some fashion, Carlotta is his current mistress and the romance of the relationship was only on her part; for him, she was someone to conquer and use. Her resentment of this fuels her extreme actions. She has the same amoral attitude that she admires in Gordon, and she is made more threatening by his lack of expression of his feelings for her. Now her only focus is resting control of the business from Gordon’s family and partners and getting what she feels entitled to by any means necessary.
The stranger: (Age range 20s) A gender ambiguous alter ego of Carlotta, the stranger is physical and deadly, a no nonsense assassin with a single goal: to control Gordon’s business. The stranger has a masculine and forceful presence that Carlotta lacks. The stranger may be a persona donned by Carlotta to do her dirty work, an alter personality of a psychotic Carlotta, or a henchman who does Carlotta’s biding. There is both a separation of and a unity with the stranger and Carlotta’s character.
Ensemble: (6 to 8 actors, various genders and ages) Conceptually, these are pantomime roles which allow us to keep the story moving without blackout or interruption. They will play a variety of comic and dramatic characters: baristas, butlers/maids, cabana boys and girls, country club wait staff, and the cast of the Cell Phone Ballet, key moment of choreographed movement in the play. Some or all may speak during the (non-dancing)ballet. You can also be stage crew and perform these roles.
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