First-time ELAC director in new theatre

DIRECTING – Lead actress Lorena Ruiz, right, waits in Anthony Li’s arm’s while Jordan Don prepares her prop and director James Johnson gives instruction on how to perform the ending to the play. CN/ Jesus Figueroa


By Jesus Figueroa


After 12 and a half years of teaching at East Los Angeles College, James Johnson will direct his first play, “Dead Man’s Cell Phone,” at ELAC premiering Friday in the upstairs theater P2-205.

His first play will be directed in the P2 205 Upstairs Theatre on Friday at 8 pm.

A few months ago, Johnson was granted access to the upstairs theatre to perform the play.

“This will be the first time the ELAC Theatre Department will perform in the Upstairs Theatre.” said Johnson.

PLAYING THE ROLE – Lead actress Lorena Ruiz practices her lines with supporting actor Henry Ruiz in practice on Saturday in preparation for opening night this Friday. CN/ Jesus Figueroa

The ELAC theatre students helped move in equipment to the upstairs theater, but Johnson has been working to set up and conduct the lighting and audio for opening night.

The play’s small cast consists of six actors main character Jean, played by Lorena Ruiz, Gordon, played by Henry Ruiz, Gordon’s mistress, played by Natalie Wong, Gordon’s wife Hermia, played by Sue Montoya, Gordon’s older brother Dwight, played by Anthony Li, and Gordon’s mother, played     by Jordan Don.

Jean is a lonely wallflower that is introverted. She sits alone at a cafe across from a man whose cell phone keeps ringing. Her world is changed as she answers a stranger’s cell phone that keeps ringing from across a cafe. As she goes over to the table, she discovers the man is dead.

As Jean goes through the dead man’s cell phone, she creates a personality for this dead stranger that sends her on a brief adventure.

Having fantasy conversations with the dead man throughout the story ends up changing her point-of-view of the world.

The play was written by Sarah Ruhl, an award-winning writer, in 2007.

Due to funding issues, the play is being produced with no budget.

Lead actress Lorena Ruiz is a theater major in her first year at ELAC. She will be playing the main character Jean.

“I always liked the rush of being on stage,” Ruiz said,“ its always been a very comforting and therapeutic form of letting out my energy and my letting out my emotions.”


Oliver Blanco also contributed to this story.



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