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The Arts Scene

Art scene warms up the Mount

Hannah Opdenaker
MSM Class of 2018

(11/2017) When the dead come knocking, will you answer? November 2nd thru the 4th Mount Theatre is producing Sarah Ruhlís, Dead Manís Cellphone, a dramatic comedy that tells the story of a woman, Jean, who becomes responsible for the cellphone of a deceased man, Gordon, as she tries to piece together what his life was really like. Jean takes it upon herself to try to right all of the wrongs in Gordonís life, beginning with Gordonís relationships. She then finds herself at his estate where she encounters Gordonís mother, Harriet. Harriet, an eccentric woman in her late 60ís is experiencing grief for the first time in her life. Also featured in the play is Harrietís second son, Dwight, who is experiencing love for the first time. The show, naturally, is set right as the cellphone became a ubiquitous part of our culture today. It questions not only the existence of cellphones, but also the relevance of cellphones in our lives. Ruhl wrote this play roughly ten years ago, and her assumptions about the impact technology would have on our lives is fairly accurate.

It is impossible to walk down the street and not see someone on his or her cellphone. As Harriet claims, "there are only two places left in the world where there are no phones: the theatre, the church, and the toilet." Jean, a woman who is virtually disconnected from the world, is rediscovering herself through Gordonís virtual identity. The show, in turn, is a commentary on our societyís dependency on cellphones and technology. In an age in which plays like Dear Evan Hansen or television shows like Thirteen Reasons Why are becoming increasingly popular among millennials, shows like Dead Manís Cellphone appeal to a larger audience as the show is designed to make an audience reflect on not how they use it, but why they use it. It also comments on who people become on social media, as opposed to who they are in real life. If you dare to pick up the call, Dead Manís Cellphone runs thru November 4th. All shows begin at 8 p.m., and tickets are $7 at the door.

Another exciting event happening this November on the Mount campus is the Allieís Musical Revue. This yearís review is a story called Working; a short musical revue that tells the story of 26 men and women that fall into that Working class of America. It explores the hopes and dreams of the majority of workers that have been taken for granted by society. The audience will meet a parking attendant, a steelworker, millworker, a big shot publicist, and a community organizer among many others. There is something for everyone in this show. The musical is based on Studs Tekelís collection of interviews with working class Americans. The music was a collaborative effort between Stephan Schwartz, Nina Faso, Craig Carnelia, and many others.

Working challenges its viewers to explore not only themselves, but also the people that they interact with every day. The musical explores the ups and downs of working Ė like traffic jams, coffee runs, business meetings, etc. The show comes to the Mount at an ironic time for most seniors are preparing for post baccalaureate work or graduate degrees. College students, in particular, seem to get caught in the haze of work, in which sometimes we forget to sit back and smell the roses. The people interviewed are all "working" towards something, much like the students of the Mount.

This production of Working is viewed as a fundraiser on campus for the 40 to None Project, which is a program that focuses on assisting homeless youth that identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, trans gender/sexual, etc. Nearly 40% of all homeless teens identify in some way with LQBTQIA, and this network has created a place for not only those who have been displaced because of their homosexuality, but also a network for those willing to donate time, money, and effort into rehoming these teenagers. The Allies organization on the Mountís Campus, along with the Visual and Performing Arts department, are hosting the event in the Horning Theatre November 16th thru the 18th. Ticket prices are expected to run around $5, and a donation will be made to the 40 to None project once the show closes.

In October, the Mount saw a month full of music programming. Earlier in October, the Visual and Performing Arts Department hosted an event entitled "Sacred Spaces", in which the Mount St. Maryís University Chorale, Lab Bands, Wind Ensemble, and percussion ensemble joined forces for a meditative concert to reflect upon the deep connection between spirituality and music. The Mount also saw its first Cafť in October. During these Cafť Nights, students are encouraged to play their music in a casual setting among their peers. These performances can be anything from students playing a solo instrument, singing either acapella or with tracks, and even small bands get together and perform for the student body. Future Cafť performances will occur throughout the year.

Read other articles by Hannah Opdenaker