Though it’s not yet October, No Refund Theatre is already bringing a disturbing, dark comedy to Penn State.
No Refund Theatre’s rendition of “The Pillowman” will be shown at 8 tonight in Forum 111 and again at 8 p.m. Saturday for free.
“The Pillowman,” originally written in 2003 by playwright Martin McDonagh, is not a play that most viewers will expect to see, actor John Reddy said.
The story takes place in an unnamed, totalitarian state, Director Max Simone said.
The main character Katurian is a writer of violent stories about children, and when murders that are similar to his fiction start to take place, he is interrogated.
NRT’s production has a cast of nine people, four of which are the primary characters.
Reddy (junior-English) said that these four characters carry all of the dialogue, while the remaining act out stories behind them.
In the background, there is a curtain and spotlight that illuminate the stories as they unfold, Reddy said.
This play will be Director and NRT President Max Simone’s third time directing for the club.
“This is the best play ever written,” Simone (senior-English and film) said. “It analyzes the power of writing.”
The play’s cast auditioned months ago in May and has been rehearsing 16 to 20 hours a week since the beginning of the semester, Reddy said.
Simone described the play as a drama, but with some dark comedy, while Reddy described the play as “almost like a horror story.”
“I don’t think people have seen anything like it before,” he said.
In the play, Reddy takes on the character of Michal.
Reddy said Michal is the brother of the main character and is brain damaged.
He said it has been a very challenging character to play although he has worked with children with disabilities in the past. He also said that Simone has been a helpful guide in directing his portrayal of the character.
“It is definitely a unique play,” Reddy said. “I’ve never encountered one like it.”
Bryan Keith plays Detective Tupolski.
“The good cop in the good cop/bad cop scenario,” Keith (junior-film) said and to him the play is “dynamic.”
“[The play] will switch from horrifying to hilarious in a second,” he said.
Keith said that the play ultimately questions “does art inspire action or does action inspire art?”–– a decision that the viewers will have to make on their own.