Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fools go beyond cell phone talk

New play explores mechanics of life

Express Staff Writer

Photo by Kirsten Shultz Company of Fools will present “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” at the Liberty Theatre in Hailey from Feb. 16 to March 4.

Company of Fools stretches beyond its boundaries with a new play by Sarah Ruhl. "Dead Man's Cell Phone" is a fresh and humorous look at the way we live, said director Denise Simone.

"It's a beautiful love story on how we connect to each other," Simone said. "The set is very Edward Hopperesque—fairly stark with distinct light."

"Dead Man's Cell Phone" will open tonight, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m. with a Pay What You Feel preview ticket price and will continue through March 4 at the Liberty Theatre in Hailey. It is a poetic fantasy about a woman forced to confront her own assumptions about morality, redemption and the need to connect in a technologically obsessed world. The play's world premiere was at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., in 2007 and its New York City premiere was at Playwrights Horizons in 2008.

The character of Jean is sleepwalking through her life until she answers a dead man's cell phone. It turns out to be a wakeup call that sends her on a date with the dead man's brother, a drinking binge with his wife and a mysterious rendezvous with his mistress. "Dead Man's Cell Phone" traces one woman's accidental quest to make a few people feel just a little bit better about themselves.

Simone said a significant part of the production is the music choices that were made, which include songs by The White Stripes, Noah and the Whale, Jet, Death Cab for Cubie and Gracie Field. Simone said she hopes to attract younger audience members to the theater with the music choices and subject matter. In addition, she said another highlight of the play is the cell phone ballet.

"It has clear bubble umbrellas," she said. "It's a landmark moment."

The production features Duke LaFoon, who was last seen in the Fools' production of "Side Man," Suzanne Gerlits, Beth Hilles, Christine Leslie, Jennifer Jacoby Rush and Joel Vilinsky. Set design is by Dennis Rexroad, fight choreography by Tony Jefferson and stage management by K.O. Ogilvie.

Tickets are $28 for adults, $20 for seniors 62 and over and $10 for students 18 and under. These ticket prices do not include the Pay What You Feel preview or other special ticketed evenings. For details on dates and times, visit the Company of Fools' box office at the Liberty Theatre in Hailey Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., call 578-9122 or visit

Sabina Dana Plasse:

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