Sarah's Ruhl's Dead Man's Cell Phone Begins World Premiere at D.C.'s Woolly Mammoth

News   Sarah's Ruhl's Dead Man's Cell Phone Begins World Premiere at D.C.'s Woolly Mammoth
That ringing sound you hear coming from the D.C. area is Dead Man's Cell Phone, the new play by Pulitzer Prize finalist Sarah Ruhl, getting its world premiere starting June 4 at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company.
Polly Noonan stars in Dead Man's Cell Phone.
Polly Noonan stars in Dead Man's Cell Phone. Photo by Stan Barouh

The author of the popular, Pulitzer finalist The Clean House, and Off-Broadway's current Eurydice, has created a quirky comedy about a woman who finds what the title suggests — a dead man's mobile phone.

Woolly's former associate artistic director Rebecca Bayla Taichman directs the play, which is described this way by the resident professional troupe in Washington, D.C.: "How much could someone learn about you if they found your cell phone – and started answering your calls? From the lyrical author of The Clean House comes this oddly mythic love story in which a lonely woman, Jean, answers the cell phone of a stranger, Gordon, and finds herself the unwitting guardian of his memory. Traveling literally to hell and back, Ruhl's quirky comedy is set amidst a world where technology is swallowing our souls, grieving is more complicated than we think, and everyone is desperate to make connections."

The production features Polly Noonan along with Woolly acting company members Rick Foucheux, Naomi Jacobson, Sarah Marshall, Jennifer Mendenhall and Bruce Nelson.

Opening is June 15. Performances play to July 1 at Woolly Mammoth's home at 641 D Street, NW (7th & D).

* "Sarah Ruhl has one of the most original voices in the American theatre, so it's a great thrill to return to her work after our wonderful experience with The Clean House in 2005," stated artistic director Howard Shalwitz, "and also to welcome Rebecca Taichman back for her third Woolly play. Dead Man's Cell Phone is a delightful and delicate fantasy, full of brilliant insights into the way technology transforms our lives. It adds an exciting new chapter to Sarah's long exploration of the thin line between life and death, a theme she has addressed in different ways in The Clean House, Eurydice and Passion Play. She is a young writer of probing intelligence and dazzling wit who re-invents the stage with each work. It's an honor to launch her newest play with a cast full of Woolly's best-known company members."

The Clean House was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2005 and won The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize in 2004.

For more information, (202) 393-3939 or visit


Steppenwolf Theater Company in Chicago will stage its own production of Dead Man's Cell Phone in early 2008, as will Playwrights Horizons Off-Broadway, in the 2007-08 season.

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