AMHERST – Using your cell phone these days is probably one of the easiest ways to get hit by a car, or add another bump or bruise to your face or limbs.
In the new play written and director by Dale Fawthrop, ‘Where in the world is Billy?’ cell phones are placed under a curse that turns their users into zombies. The only cure? Sending a young band back in time to learn all about the Rockabilly music era in order to save more people from turning into zombies. The play centers around a very prominent radio station, the BUSY Amherst, which serves the greater Nappan and Fenwick area. The intrepid reporters become frustrated that people are too busy to talk to them because they are on their cellphones.
“They conjure up an evil wraith, and the evil wraith puts a curse on cellphones so when people read it (the text message), they turn into a zombie,” said Fawthrop. “And they’re is only one salvation and that one salvation is to go back into the 1950’s and learn Rockabilly and bring it back to present day so people are not so tied up in technology.”
Fawthrop said his natural hatred for cell phones was the inspiration behind the play and a great way to showcase all the different forms of art that is growing in the town of Amherst.
Terry Farrell, who has been providing his acting talents to several of Fawthrop’s plays, returns to the stage in a whole new role, one he said he is very excited to perform.
“This is our third project,” he said. “In the past, I’ve worn a dress, I’ve been gassed in the war, I’ve gotten married but this is the first time I’ll actually get to the save the world. This could be the highlight of my acting career.”
As a politician, Farrell said he does rely quite heavily on his cell phone to keep in touch with his constituents. However, he completely understands Fawthrop’s frustration with the amount people tend to use their mobile devices.
“Sometimes, I’ll admit, it’s a bit of a love-hate relationship,” he said. “The best things in life are sometimes the most problematic. When my hip starts to vibrate, sometimes I have to wonder what’s going to happen. I almost go catatonic sometimes.”
Davie Goode, the guitarist for The Shakedown Combo, also has had a few mishaps concerning cell phones. He said there has been a time or two where he has been using his own cell phone and bumped into something.
“But I think it’s a good angle for the play. It allows us to talk about this whole technology thing. I’ve used the word ‘corrupted’ with it because it’s a way from what traditionally is human nature and we’ve created this whole new human nature about it,” he said. “It’s great to incorporate that with some rockabilly music and get the whole feel of music throughout the subject matter. It’s cool.”
Where in the world is Billy is set to the take the stage at the Susan Taylor Theatre at the Amherst Regional High School March 21-23 beginning at 8 p.m. Advance tickets re available at JTW Health Guidance Centre with all proceeds being donated to the Maritime Rockabilly Shakedown to help fund the second Rockabilly festival. For more information, call 667-1119.