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Dead Man’s Cell Phone

November 11 – 27, 2021

By Sarah Ruhl
Director Fran Gebhard

When a cell phone will not stop ringing at the café table next to her, Jean’s inclination to answer it launches her into the complicated personal lives of a dead man’s brother, his wife, and his mistress. This loopy and sometimes otherworldly odyssey becomes a wake-up call, forcing Jean to confront her own assumptions, and ultimately realize that life is for the living.

Written by Sarah Ruhl, the multi-award-winning playwright of Eurydice, The Clean House, and In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play), this wildly imaginative comedy blends quirkiness with soul, reminding us of the importance of connection in a world more and more isolated by technology.


Presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc.


Sarah Ruhl, Playwright

Sarah Ruhl is a multi-award-winning American playwright, author, essayist, and professor. Her plays have been produced on Broadway at the Lyceum by Lincoln Center Theater, Off-Broadway at Playwrights’ Horizons, Second Stage, and at Lincoln Center’s Mitzi Newhouse Theater. Her plays have been produced regionally all over the country, and internationally. Her plays have been translated into over twelve languages. Originally from Chicago, Ruhl received her M.F.A. from Brown University where she studied with Paula Vogel. An alum of 13P and of New Dramatists, she won a MacArthur Fellowship in 2006 and the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award in 2016. She proudly served on the executive council of the Dramatist’s Guild for three years, and she is currently on the faculty at Yale School of Drama.

Learn more about Sarah Ruhl on her website.

Fran Gebhard, Director

Fran acted in both theatre and film for many years before turning her attention to directing. She received her MFA in directing from UBC in 2001. For UVic she directed The School For Scandal, Crackpot, Wreckage, Midsummer Nights Dream, and Les Liaisons Dangereuses and 7 Stories. Favourites for other theatres include As You Like It, For The Pleasure of Seeing Her Again, Much Ado About Nothing and The Importance of Being Earnest. Fran has had a long association with the development of new Canadian work, and served as the Program Head of the

Playwrights Colony at the Banff Centre for many years.

Acting is Fran’s first love and her most memorable roles include: Brutus in Julius Caesar, Lady Wishfort in The Way of the World, Elizabeth in Richard III, Joanne in Norm Foster’s Jupiter in July, and Martha in Joan MacLeod’s Amigo’s Blue Guitar. She regularly performs her one-woman show Looking For Kitty and has hosted her own radio and TV talk shows. Film and TV credits include appearances on The Chris Isaak Show, Stephen King’s Dead Zone, Friday’s Curse and Moment of Truth. She played Bette Davis’ daughter-in-law in A Piano For Mrs. Cimino and was nominated for a Genie award for her work in Blue City Slammers. Fran also performed in As You Like It and The Fantasticks during Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre’s inaugural season.

Teaching has become a focus in Fran’s life – she loves sharing her passion for theatre with the next generation of talented and energetic theatre professionals.


Show Dates

In-Person Performance Dates

Livestreamed Performance Dates

Friday, November 19 at 7pm
Saturday, November 20 at 3pm
Friday, November 26 at 7pm
Saturday, November 27 at 3pm



Subscription packages are available now.

Single Tickets for this show come available November 2, 2021.

Charge by phone: 250-721-8000
or in person at the Phoenix Box Office

In Person Performances
Please review the current COVID-19 protocols and vaccination requirements.  

Friday & Saturday Evenings
All Seats $30

Wednesday, Thursday & Saturday Matinees
All Seats $26

Cheap Tuesdays
All Seats $16

Student Rush Tickets
30 minutes before every show: $16

UVic Alumni
Saturday Matinees: $21
(with UVic Alumni ONECard)

Livestream Performances

$15 per household (An easy-to-use link and password will be sent on the day of your performance.)


Performed in the Roger Bishop Theatre

Cast & Creative

Director Fran Gebhard

A full cast and creative team list will be posted this fall. 


Preshow Lecture: Friday, November 12 at 7pm
Join us on the first Friday for a guest lecture about themes in the play.

Lectures are free and everyone is welcome, no matter which performance you have tickets for. The lectures are also recorded and audio files are posted here in the week following the lecture.


Suitable for ages 13+

Some coarse language.