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  • Lian Blaisdell

Dead Man's Cell Phone: An Exploration of Society in the Digital Age

Updated: Jan 6

After a year and a half long break, Clayton Valley Charter High School’s drama program performed its first live play since the COVID-19 shutdown in March 2020. This fall, they put on a production of Dead Man's Cell Phone by Sarah Ruhl, which explores the compulsion we as a society have for our electronic devices. It follows a young woman named Jean and her journey after answering a dead stranger’s phone.

The showing that the Talon saw was well attended with masks and proof of vaccination required.

CVCHS sophomore student, Abbey Elwood, played the lead in the play. To get some insight on what it was like to perform, we conducted an interview with her.

What was it like to perform after such a long break, due to COVID?

AE: “It was a bit scary just putting yourself out there and not knowing how the crowd would react and if you were going to mess up.”

When you first read the script, did you see yourself as the lead or another part?

AE: “Well, I read the encyclopedia before I auditioned–I didn’t actually read the script until I was casted–so it kind of made it different. But yeah, when I was reading the summary, I definitely sympathized with the lead, Jean, the most and I felt I could relate to her. So, I guess in that way, I imagined myself as her.”

How were you feeling before opening night?

AE: “Very, very nervous, but also confident. This is my first lead, so that definitely made me feel that there was a bit of pressure. I didn’t want to let people down, but, I mean, we’d been rehearsing a lot and I just felt like I was ready–prepared.”

What did you learn from performing in this play?

AE: “I learned that sometimes, it’s better to loosen up and just go with things, not to let your nerves get the best of you. And obviously, what it’s like to perform on a big stage and how tech works, which by the way, tech is amazing.”

What important lesson do you think people should take away?

AE: “Well, the play is about technology and how it affects our world. I guess I want people to take away that we’re kind of in a technology-obsessed world nowadays and that it can be both like a blessing or a curse. And it’s also good to remember what life would be like if we didn’t have technology, if, you know, there wasn’t always a machine in your pocket that might ring.”

You spent months preparing and rehearsing and now it’s all over. How does it feel to be done with the play?

AE: "I don't really know what to do with my time, I guess. Reflecting back, it was an amazing experience and I'm sad that it's over, but I'm also happy that I've had it. It's a part of my life now."

Congratulations to Abbey and the entire theater department for a well produced production. We look forward to seeing their next show and we hope the student body will continue to participate in and support the arts at CVCHS.

Image credit: CVCHS Drama Department

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