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No Refund Theatre Presents: ‘Rumors’

No Refund Theatre returns with the sixth production of its spring catalog. This week, the organization presents “Rumors.”

Written by Neil Simon and directed by junior Jonathan Yourchak, “Rumors” tells a story of laughter, confusion, and teamwork across a single evening gone terribly wrong. The play itself is a farce: a work of fiction celebrating exaggeration for comedy in bold, blatant fashion.

Invited to celebrate the 10th wedding anniversary of friends, Ken and Chris Gorman arrive at the Brock household in their very best attire to mark the momentous occasion. Upon arrival, the Gormans hear a gunshot and rush to find Charlie Brock with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. While the injury is only a flesh wound, the mass hysteria amongst the group cuts much deeper. 

More invitees arrive at the party, each possessing confidential information they hope to withhold from their so-called friends. Dramatics, chaos, and panic take over the evening as individual motives create a makeshift whodunnit experience, and the group unravels the story. 

As the Gormans attempt to hide the evening’s unfortunate turn, the rumors begin to fly and a key theme emerges: No matter how hard we try to hide them, secrets are meant to be spilled. 

Bringing the script to the NRT stage, Yourchak prioritized comedy in his directorial debut with the club. 

“It was just so funny, so lighthearted, and there was just always laughter going on,” Yourchak said. “I was like, ‘I’ve got to bring this show to NRT if I get the chance.'”

Finding his perfect cast, Yourchak selected both seasoned players and new members of the club. Freshman Ryan Rosignal plays the lead role of Ken Gorman, a middle-aged lawyer aging by the hour due to the stress of the evening. 

“Ken is very quick on his feet and trying to figure out how to deal with this situation before everyone else comes to the party,” Rosignal said. “He is really frantic trying to deal with the situation but is trying to keep this cool facade going on.”

Tested through trials, Ken attempts to remain the voice of reason alongside his panicked wife, Chris, played by senior Lizzy Scipione. The NRT veteran has been seen in 13 club productions, most recently in “She Kills Monsters” and “Blithe Spirit.” 

Yet for Scipione, the art of storytelling never gets old, and working with a younger cast has been inspirational during their senior season.

“I’m the only senior in the cast, so it’s been really awesome working with underclassmen. They have this kind of vibrancy where it’s really easy to bounce off their energy,” Scipione said. ”It’s hard not to match their energy when you’re here with them.”

Finding joy in teamwork, the cast worked together to create the close-knit couples of “Rumors.” Activities included character workshops and rehearsals designed to unite the group creatively. 

“There was one part where we came in and did a couples therapy workshop,” freshman Rayann Patterson said. “We basically broke down who Cassie and Glenn are.”

Acting alongside Patterson as husband Glenn, freshman Matt O’Donnell explained the chance to work with Patterson and develop their characters in tandem.

“You kind of get to know them a little bit more,” O’Donnell said. “We got to grow our characters together a which was a cool opportunity.”

Passionate about the production, freshman Griffin Lee joins in on the action onstage in his first NRT production. 

“You get to tell a story. I really love bringing the audience into a story that they haven’t seen before,” Lee said. “Jonathan was just really great with giving his creative feedback and making it a safe space so we were all one unit.”

Enjoying the process, the cast and crew found community in each other, much aligned with the club’s values of art for inclusivity. 

“I never once felt anxious or scared that I was doing something wrong because I had such a positive environment around me,” Yourchak said. 

Playing with thematic elements onstage to further the story, Yourchak explained a key choice to create dynamics between actors and the set.

“I wanted the environment to be a plain environment and contrast that by having the characters in colors,” Yourchak said.  “A splash of color that brings the characters out of the setting and makes you focus on what the characters are doing and saying instead of just blending in with the background.”

Filling in technical elements of sound effects and lighting, the crew played a crucial part in achieving the overall result. 

“It always takes a village and they always deliver,” Yourchak said. “The show couldn’t happen without them.” 

Following the lead of Yourchak as an assistant director, sophomore Angelina Smith enjoyed learning through a new lens. 

“It was fresh perspectives and it was really cool to bring it all together,” Smith said. “It was a cool learning experience.”

Grateful for Yourchak’s vision, fellow assistant director Hannah Flade explained the opportunity to work with the production team. 

“Jonathan made it a super easy experience and I’m so lucky this was my first show,” Flade said. “It was really cool, and I feel like I learned a lot.” 

Exemplifying the club’s mission of acceptance beyond the stage, sophomore Teagan Palatt synthesized her experience with “Rumors.”

“Theatre can sometimes be a place where people can feel very insecure, and I’ve had the opposite experience,” she said. “Everyone’s been very encouraging and nothing but kind. Everyone messes up sometimes, and it’s okay here.” 

Energized by the new community prospering in the club, incoming NRT president Ella Bradner explained the excitement for the future.

“We have so much more new involvement and I really think this show is a testament to that,” Bradner said. “It’s just really really exciting to see, especially with our lineup for next semester.” 

Three performances of “Rumors” will play at 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 13, Friday, April 14, and Saturday, April 15, in Forum 111. A content warning is in place for suicide, gun violence, simulated violence, and loud noises. 

As always, all No Refund Theatre productions are free of charge.

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About the Author

Lizzie Palmieri

Lizzie is a senior majoring in Marketing and Psychology from Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Ask her about Disney World, Diet Pepsi, or dancing on the Jumbotron at Beaver Stadium. When not causing general trouble, Lizzie enjoys playing golf, performing in the theatre, and being the CEO of reorganizing the fridge. Her favorite thing to do is hang out with her sassy sidekick, 19-year-old Italian Greyhound, Macaroni. Follow her on Twitter @lizziepalmieri if your deepest desire is bestie vibes only.

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