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No Refund Theatre Presents: ‘A Mortal Game’

No Refund Theatre (NRT) returned to continue its spring slate of shows, adding “A Mortal Game” to its repertoire.

Written and directed by Audrey Cressler, “A Mortal Game” creates a feeling of genuine emotions with a bit of laughter mixed in throughout the show. The show encapsulates hard topics, such as abuse and emotional trauma, but displays them in a less heavy form for the audience. It’s almost impossible to lose interest in such a humorous yet dramatic play.

Director and second-year psychology student Cressler said that when writing the script, she made each character as relatable as possible. She mentioned how Dalia is based on one of her friends. Cressler wrote the play to demonstrate how we as a society place meaning onto others. The play answers the question, “What makes someone more valuable?”

The cast consists of the gods Nova, Moonshine, Raif, and Cato. They play a game where they collect points based on how their assigned humans perform in life. Carlin, Dalia, and Madoc are all mortals on Earth, who are young adults in their mid-20s at the disgrace of the gods.

Cato and Nova make a deal that creates a toxic relationship between Carlin and Madoc. Nova realizes how he has been played by Cato and learns about “the game” from the human’s perspective.

Nova learns a lot about the human race and becomes fond of Carlin and Dalia. He begins to open up to each of them about how he is unlike the other gods. He starts to relate to them as their friendship blossoms.

Nathan Carter, a fourth-year student majoring in telecommunications, said they related to the change that Nova, their character, went through.

“The film’s theme is about things coming to an end. I am finding that experience wrapping school up as a senior,” Carter said.

Carlin shows Nova how, despite her hardships, she continues to stay positive.

Jenna Meleedy, who plays Carlin, said she relates to her relentless optimism.

“Carlin brings a relentless, optimistically aggressive compassionate perspective in an unlikely place,” Meleedy said.

Despite relating to Carlin, Meleedy mentioned how difficult it was to enter that mindset. She said she was too angry all the time and was constantly told to read her lines in a more positive light.

Carla faces hardships from Madoc, her abusive boyfriend. Madoc is played by third-year student Pearce Hartz. He said despite playing a bad guy, there is some sort of takeaway from Madoc.

“Everyone wants to be in control of their own life,” Hartz said. “I think Madoc wouldn’t have been as evil if he had just learned to not control other people.”

No Refund Theatre offers free shows to any viewers interested. Three showings of “A Mortal Game” will take place throughout the week and weekend. The first show begins at 9 p.m. on Thursday, March 28, with two additional shows on Friday, March 29, and Saturday, March 30. All showings will be held in Forum 111.

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