Comedy discusses effects of technology on society

The lights go down in the Marshall Theatre. The room is pitch black, until five cell phone screens light up the stage. The screens begin to move, bouncing around the stage. These dancing cell phones create an enticing opening scene to the comedy, “Dead Man’s Cell Phone.”

This entertaining production has been in the works for a few months. The cast members were able to get to know each other during the course of two and a half months—a long time in the theatre world. It is performed by six main actors and five members of the ensemble, who danced between scenes and creatively changed the equipment by moving robotically. The actors of the play worked together seamlessly.

The main character,  Jean, played by junior Paige Keith, is a woman who gets completely entangled in a new world simply by picking up a cell phone.

“This was the best cast and crew I have worked with,” Keith said. “It was the most fun I have had in a production since high school.”

Keith has previously performed at Linfield in “The Comedy of Errors,” “West Moon Street” and “Execution of Justice.” She is a theatre and business double major.

Keith had pre-stage jitters before the show and said that her heart was racing before each play. However, she added that the cast had performed the show so many times that they all had it down. She said she is able to get into the flow once the lights go on and she walks onstage.

Freshman Nicholas Granato, who is hoping to pursue acting as a profession, played the dead man himself. He has performed in Chekhov’s “The Bear,” “Fifth of July” and in numerous other shows. He played Gordon, a dead man who is discovered by Jean at a nondescript café.

“We had a great cast. No one ever fought,” Granato said.

However, the process was not an easy one.

“The first read through was confusing, no one knew what they were reading,” he said.

However, the play had certainly improved since the first read through; it was obvious when watching the actors that they were confident in their work.

Among Keith and Granato were seniors Grace Becket and Bailey Maxwell and juniors Daphne Dosset and  Jacob Preister. The ensemble was made up of animated actors. Sophomore Tim Marl impressed the audience with his skillful robotic moves. He has been dancing since he was four years old, and “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” was his first performance at Linfield.

The play isn’t just a mindless comedy. It brings about insightful thoughts about the effects of technology on today’s society. The characters are plagued by their cellular devices. Jean wouldn’t have ever gotten involved with Gordon’s odd family if she had ignored the obnoxious ringtone, or better yet if Gordon had politely silenced his cell phone before he died. Instead, Jean answers the cell phone, and continues to entangle herself in Gordon’s eccentric family by continuing to pick up the device. Jean simply cannot let the device go, until she learns the hard way that technology isn’t as important as she once believed.

The play was a success for the theatre department, selling out on opening night. The play will continue April 19, 20 and 21.

Alyssa Carano/
Staff photographer
Alyssa Carano can be reached at

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