After a guy drops dead sitting at a cafe, his cell phone starts ringing.
A woman sitting at the table next to him decides to answer the phone and ends up knee-deep in the dead man's troubled life -- including meeting up with the guy's wife, mother, mistress and brother.
That storyline is at the heart of Columbia Basin College's next production, aptly titled Dead Man's Cell Phone, which opens Nov. 9 at the CBC theater on the Pasco campus.
It's written by Sarah Ruhl of New York City, whom director Ronn Campbell describes as one of the new generation playwrights who are revamping the theater.
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"I chose this play because it explores how cell phones have become a part of us now, both good and bad," Campbell said.
As the curtain rises, the audience sees a man and woman sitting at different tables in a cafe. The guy's cell phone is ringing, but he doesn't answer it, which annoys the woman sitting across the room from him.
When she storms over to his table to protest, she discovers there was a good reason the guy wasn't answering his phone. He's dead.
So she decides to answer his phone -- not knowing the roller coaster ride she triggers as other calls come in. She continues to answer and take messages.
The story gets more and more outrageous with each scene. Jean, played by Amanda Johnston, finds herself entangled with the dead guy's emotionally estranged wife Hermia, played by Brittany Case, his frosty but elegant mother, played by Laura Knittle, and his mysterious mistress, played by Kaleigh Hageman.
And if that isn't crazy enough, Jean also ends up falling in love with the dead guy's sad and lonely brother Dwight, played by Matthew Reinemann.
There are plenty of laughs in the show to take the edge off of the tragedy of death, which is why Campbell refers to the production as a dark comedy.
The play runs Nov. 9-10 and 16-17. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults and $6 for students and seniors.
*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org