“When a phone rings you’re supposed to answer it. You’re supposed to be there.” [Dead Man’s Cell Phone] In today’s society we are in a constant state of having to “be there.” I find that somehow by always being attached to someone else via different types of media, we are supposed to be “there” more and more… We are supposed to be there until the point where we forget what it’s like to not answer a phone, receive a text, IM, email, message someone.
In the play “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” we, the audience, are captivated by Jean’s attachment to a dead man’s phone. We are captivated, entranced and disgusted by the severe attachment she feels to this man’s phone. Why, because we feel this same attachment to our phones. We feel uneasy by her feelings of intense necessity to this man’s phone … perhaps because it reminds us of our need and speed in which we become attached to phones.
The various other forms of technology that enhance this production captivate us. With the use of phones and iPad’s to make candles at a funeral, with the use sound media to create the other half of a phone conversation, with the use of lights emitted from phones to give a sort of ambiance, we are captivated by this play. And yet despite this interest in the play during intermission people rush into their bags to collect their ever-precious phones. People are no longer satisfied with the simple watching of TV, with the simple watching of a play. People have to be multitasking. In fact 88% of people are mobile multitasking while watching TV… TV the very medium that is constantly changing images, that is constantly shoving bright colors and loud sounds in our faces to captivate us. It now bores us.
There were some key lines in this play that highlight my generation’s necessity for phones and other types of media. These lines touch on the necessity to have a phone, and to be connected, by whatever means necessary. A (Paraphrased) key line is: We feel the need to be close to someone, anyone and when that doesn’t work we try harder or in a different way. It has to be our fault that we feel no connection to a media tool that has the ability to connect us to so many. The more we are there, the less we feel there, the more we are connected [via media and especially cell phones,] the less we feel connected.
This form of media, the phone, from humble beginnings has become increasingly popular to the point that my peers and I find it weird when someone doesn’t have a phone. The phone is now a lifeline, connecting us to someone else, frankly, anyone else.
Overall this play has made me realize the false sense of comfort we find in cell phones and other forms of media. This play has made the facts and statistics of people using phones and having phones, all the more real. It has made me question where society’s media is going and the humble beginnings it sprouted from. It is frightening to think that cell phones are of recent years. It is frightening to think that phones, in general, 100 or so years ago, used to not exist. It makes me wonder what we would do without phones now…