Mustang News | Shae

Cal Poly’s theater and dance department presents Sara Ruhl’s award-winning comedy “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” from Nov. 2 – 5 and Nov. 9 – 11 in Spanos Theater. 

The play follows Jean, a woman whose life changes when she answers a dead stranger’s cell phone, according to the Performing Art Center’s (PAC) website.

Though the original production premiered in 2007, its themes center around the impact of technology on human relationships in modern society. Costume Director Thomas Bernard said he combined both modern and classic looks to complement these themes.  

“The play has almost a film noir quality, but then they have modern technology like cell phones,” Bernard said. “I decided to take silhouettes from the 1950s and fabrics of modern day and blend them together.”

Bernard leads teams of student assistants in both the Costume Construction I and Costume Construction II classes to bring these costume concepts to life. Students are able to enroll in costume, stage crew and lighting classes where they work directly on the upcoming show throughout the quarter. 

“We have so many people from different backgrounds working on this show,” Bernard said. 

Theater arts senior and assistant director of the production Elise Chubb said she worked alongside director Karin Hendricks-Bolen in a fast-paced environment. 

“We had three and a half weeks of rehearsal, so just kind of working that quickly with her was a really cool process,” Chubb said.

Chubb is excited for the audience to be seated so closely to the set, to create a more intimate environment and allow viewers to immerse themselves in the story. 

She added that the show’s themes are relevant to students today, as many everyday activities require cell phones or computers. 

“There’s so much more to the world out there than what is in your hand,” she said about the play’s message. 

Tickets are $15 for students, faculty and staff and $25 for general admission. Tickets and showtimes can be found at or by calling 805-756-4TIX.