If ever a play was apropos for a specific period of time in Squamish, this is it.
Squamish's community theatre company, Between Shifts Theatre, presents Dead Man's Cell Phone from Oct. 19 to 29.
Sarah Ruhl's play examines the paradox of modern technology's tendency to both isolate and unite folks.
After an election campaign that was at turns wacky, informative and nasty thanks mostly to its online component, this story will likely hit a nerve for many in town.
The play — its Squamish version directed by Janice Carroll and produced by Janice D. MacLean — features Jean, who is not engaging with her own life until she answers a dead man's cell phone.
The cast includes familiar faces Kathy Daniels, Maclean Falkins and Sara Morroco, as well as newcomers to Between Shifts: Laura Funa, Heather Fulcher, and Nathan Kelly.
Jessica Kelly, the show's assistant director and choreographer, told The Squamish Chief that this version is "a very true representation of the original play," but there was room for some fun, creative twists as well.
"There is a choreographed fight that I got to choreograph that was quite open. And it's a lot of fun. It's a very funny, farcical scene," she said. "And there's also a dance that's just called the umbrella ballet. So that, again, was really wide open, and I got to really use my creative juices and workshop some different movements and come up with a really cool movement piece with the actors," she said.
Though the original of the dark comedy was released in 2007 — which seems a more technically innocent time compared to today's smartphone and social media world — its themes seems more relevant today than perhaps when the play debuted.
Fulcher, who plays The Other Woman/Stranger, said she hopes local audiences leave the theatre wanting to put their phones down more often.
That is something it made her want to do, she acknowledged.
"Putting it down and having authentic conversations face-to-face," she said.
And while the play touches on important real-life topics, she said she hopes folks come to the theatre to have fun too.
"Find humour in this play. I think we all need a good laugh. And we all need to get out and have a good laugh."
Vancouver actor Nate Kelly, Jessica's brother in real life, who plays Gordon the Dead Man, says he hopes audiences come away reflecting on what they will leave behind.
"I hope people leave the theatre thinking about, I guess the word is their legacy, but that puts the sort of connotation on it that I don't love. But what we leave behind, you know? Your familial legacy, or your friendship and relationship legacy. [Usually, legacy] seems to be about how much you've gained, how much you've acquired, but on reflection, it's more about your interpersonal relationships and how real and genuine or disingenuous they may have been," he said.
Dead Man's Cell Phone is on at the Eagle Eye Community Theatre on the following dates at 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.):
Preview night: Wednesday, Oct. 19
Opening night: Thursday, Oct. 20
Pay what you can night: Friday, Oct. 21
Saturday, Oct. 22nd
Wednesday, Oct. 26
Thursday, Oct. 27th
Friday, Oct. 28th
Saturday, Oct. 29th
Find out more or get tickets at betweenshifts.com.