By Kevin Trala
Niagara University, N.Y. — It has been less than a month since the start of the second semester and Niagara University Theatre is ready to debut their first show Thursday, Feb. 16. Dead Man’s Cellphone, by Sarah Ruhl, will premiere in the main gallery of the Castellani Art Museum.
Dead Man’s Cellphone intertwines the theme of technology and isolation and the influence they have on today’s society.
“Isolation is a huge theme today that is just so relevant as we become more technologically inclined,” said the Director of the play, Trevor Copp.
Copp began instructing physical theatre at Niagara University in 2015, which was originally supposed to be temporary. However, through his success teaching here at the university, Copp was also picked to direct Dead Man’s Cellphone, his first directed piece at Niagara.
“A man dies in a cafe, his phone is going off and someone picks up the phone,” said Copp. “It’s such a great leaping off point which creates the plot metaphor that opens up questions in all the right kinds of ways.”
Although this is Copp’s first time directing at Niagara, the circumstances involving the amount of time given to prepare for the show has not changed. Rehearsals began on Sunday, Jan. 22.
“I find myself more sensitive to the fact that it can be more overwhelming to the students than for me,” Copp said. “Just to see that they are so busy with classes all day and then to add another four hours on top of that every night amazes me.”
Sophomore theatre performance major Charles McGregor, who will be playing Gordon, A Dead Man, discussed the process of making the play come to life while also dealing with the short amount of preparation time.
“We’ve truthfully done the best we’ve can with the amount of time we’ve had,” stated McGregor. “But I think overall this has been a very good experience for everyone of us to push ourselves to achieve the goal, which is telling the story.”
Other members of the cast include Connor Caso(Gordon’s Brother, Dwight), Arianna Lasting (Gordon’s Widow, Hermia), Jacquelyn Maas(The Other Woman/The Stranger), Kayla McSorley (Gordon’s Mother, Mrs. Gottlieb), and Christine Turturro(A Woman, Jean). Kristen Gorney is the stage manager of the show.
“This process has been very unique because every character has a different message they want to convey,” said McGregor. “This piece sends the message that death can open your eyes to things you have been missing for years.”
Dead Man’s Cellphone will begin on Thursday, Feb. 16, and will run until Sunday, Feb. 19. Tickets for general admission are $15. For seniors 62 and up and youths under 21, tickets will be $10. Niagara students with a valid student ID are entitled to receive one free ticket per main stage production. Tickets are available at the box office in the lobby of Leary Theatre or online at theatre.niagara.edu.