Ballad of a Dead Man

By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  March 3, 2010

After intermission, Gordon greets us from beyond the grave and a disarmingly charming Donelly almost gets us to forgive the man for his dodgy but profitable line of work, which we finally learn about. Duclos's Jean, still a life-baffled Alice in Wonderland, commits to his benign alter ego, Dwight. Kay gives a wonderful deadpan sex-life synopsis as a weepy, drunken Hermia. Meek pours forth more icy hostility as Mrs. Gottlieb, and Warren grows leggier slinking on as that woman of mystery. The actors and the playwright are fond of these characters, so we become so too.

Ruhl, who got her start at Brow University, begins her playscript with a lengthy quote from Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities that begins: "A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be [a] profound secret and mystery to every other," also quoted in Mrs. Gottlieb's eulogy. As Dead Man's Cell Phone demonstrates, some things never change.

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