Skip to main content

Dead Man's Cell Phone

The Arches, Glasgow
Neil Cooper
3 stars
There are few things more pervasive in this gadget-obsessed society
than the ringing of a mobile telephone. The mere possibility of some
life-changing call is so great, it seems, that staying in touch at all
times is crucial. Pulitzer Prize-winning American writer Sarah Ruhl
makes this abundantly clear in her increasingly absurd study of just
how desperate making a connection can be.

It starts inconsequentially enough, with a man and a woman sat at
separate tables in a quiet little diner. If the possibility of
flirtation is there then no-one's saying much about it. Only when the
man's phone rings in earnest is the woman, Jean, prompted into an
action that steers her on a picaresque adventure involving grieving
mothers, wronged mistresses and loving brothers, not to mention the
proposed sale of a kidney in a South African airport.

Ruhl's play may only have been written in 2006, but so far has
technology come in terms of smartphones, social networking and all the
other new-fangled jiggery-pokery that keeps us hanging 24/7 that Euhl's
play – a UK premiere - already looks dated. It might have helped too in
Stasi Schaeffer's playful if uneven production if a clearly game cast
led by Susan Worsfold as easily-led innocent abroad Jean kept to the
script's clear American rhythms rather than their own voices.

Even so, as Jean lives vicariously through others, all the while making
amends for the life she's accidentally acquired, there's still great
fun to be had with Ruhl's take on a world where switching off and
pulling the plug on the latest gidget is for some a terrifying prospect.

The Herald, June 10th 2011

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Peter Brook – The Prisoner

Peter Brook is no stranger to Scotland, ever since the guru of European and world theatre first brought his nine-hour epic, The Mahabharata, to Glasgow in 1988. That was at the city’s old transport museum, which by 1990 had become Tramway, the still-functioning permanent venue that opened up Glasgow and Scotland as a major channel for international theatre in a way that had previously only been on offer at Edinburgh International Festival.
Brook and his Paris-based Theatre des Bouffes du Nord company’s relationship with Tramway saw him bring his productions of La Tragedie de Carmen, La Tempete, Pellease et Mellisande, The Man Who…, and Oh Les Beaux Jours – the French version of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days – to Glasgow.
Thirty years on from The Mahabharata, Brook comes to EIF with another piece of pan-global theatre as part of a residency by Theatre des Bouffes du Nord, which Brook has led since he decamped to Paris from London in the early 1970s. The current Edinburgh residency has alr…

Romeo And Juliet - Shakespeare's Globe Comes to Glasgow

Open-air Shakepeares are a summer-time perennial of the theatre calendar, attracting picnicking audiences as much as midges. More often than not, such romps through the grass are frothy, heritage industry affairs designed to be accompanied by strawberries and cream and not to be taken too seriously. Shakespeare’s Globe theatre company look set to change such perceptions when they open their outdoor tour of Romeo And Juliet in Glasgow next week as part of the West End festival.

For the two young actors taking the title roles of the doomed lovers, it will also be something of a homecoming. Richard Madden and Ellie Piercy both studied in Glasgow prior to turning professional. Indeed, Madden has yet to graduate from the acting course at RSAMD, and, as well as facing the pressures of playing such a meaty role in close proximity to the audience, will have the added anxiety of being assessed and graded by his tutors.

“This is the end of my third year,” says Madden following a Saturday mornin…

Suzy Glass – Message from the Skies

Freedom of movement matters to Suzy Glass, the arts and events producer currently overseeing the second edition of Message from the Skies.This animated literary derive around the city forms part of this year’s Edinburgh’s Hogmanay programme, and runs right through till Burns’ Night. Glass’ concerns are inherent in the event itself, which has commissioned six writers from different disciplines and experiences to each pen a love letter to Europe. Each writer has then paired up with a composer and visual artist or film-maker, with the results of each collaboration projected in monumental fashion on the walls of one of half a dozen of the capital’s most iconic buildings.
With venues stretching from the south side of Edinburgh to Leith, and with one city centre stop requiring a walk up Calton Hill, there is considerable legwork required to complete the circuit. It shouldn’t be considered a race, however, and audiences are free to move between venues at their leisure, visiting each site on d…