Behind the Curtain

Official Blog of International City Theatre

Genius Playwright’s Work Comes to ICT

May 14th, 2013

Credit: MacArthur Foundation

Credit: MacArthur Foundation

The term genius gets tossed around more than it probably should, but that doesn’t detract from the value of the word. International City Theatre’s upcoming production of Dead Man’s Cell Phone is written by Sarah Ruhl, a playwright many consider a genius.

A graduate of Brown University’s graduate playwriting program, it is safe to say that Ruhl began her career firing out of the gate. Her poetic use of language brought her an immediate legion of fans. Two plays have been Pulitzer Prize finalists – The Clean House (produced at ICT in 2010) and In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play). The latter was her Broadway debut and was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play. It should also be mentioned that Ruhl has accomplished all this by the age of 38.

Her achievements in the theatre led to a MacArthur “Genius” Grant after only five years as a professional playwright. The announcement from the fellowship stated the following acknowledgement for her award: “…vivid and adventurous theatrical works that poignantly juxtapose the mundane aspects of daily life with mythic themes of love and war.” This can be seen in Dead Man’s Cell Phone.

The play starts like this:  An incessantly ringing cell phone in a quiet cafe. A stranger at the next table who has had enough. And a dead man – with a lot of loose ends. It is the outlandish comic odyssey of a woman forced to confront her own assumptions about morality, redemption and the need to connect in a technologically obsessed world.

If you want to see the work of a living genius, head on over to ICT.  This quirky comedy fits the bill.

Dead Man’s Cell Phone runs June 5 – 30. To purchase tickets, call 562-436-4610 or visit

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