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Interview with the Playwright: "Dead Man's Game" by Thomas Hart

As the premiere of the "Dead Man's Game" Reading soon approaches, come learn about the playwright, Thomas Hart, the brains behind the play in this exclusive interview.

Q: Without spoiling your play, what is it about?

TH: Dead Man’s Game is about a woman who wakes up in Hell after the end of her life and decides to gamble her soul on a game of checkers with Satin. During the chess match the two are set to explore the various complications of religious morality and how life and personal life choices clash with religious ideologies.

Q: What inspired this work?

TH: Nine years of Catholic schooling, plus a lot of time out of it reflecting on my religious identity. The biggest reason I wanted to write the show was because I wanted to explore the two principal characters, Hera and Satan, and get their ideas on religion and how their lives have been impacted by the rules that have been set up around them.

Q: What themes do you want to resonate most with your audience?

TH: I suppose a big theme is the conflict that Hera and Satan will feel exploring each other’s backstories and their own ideas on religious morality. The differing viewpoints as well as the ultimate idea of Judgement are ones I think are particularly strong.

Q: How long have you been writing for? Is this your first play?

TH: I suppose I’ve been writing with varying degrees of intensity since middle school. I didn’t decide to pursue it as a career until about three years ago. I have written many scripts in the past but this will be my first completed stage play.

Q: Since you write in different mediums, why did you think this story should be told as a play?

TH: I think there’s a lot of interesting staging that can be done with the central piece of the checkerboard. I think a lot of the uniqueness of a play is how the entire story revolves around one or two settings, and what happens beyond that setting is beyond the scope of the audience, which I think poses interesting challenges to write with. For Dead Man’s Game in particular, having everything take place in one room has helped add to funny moments and dramatic moments a lot; in fact, the entire character of Jesus was based on jokes that can be done with him wandering on and off stage.

Q: If it is not a spoiler, which character in the play is your favorite and why?

TH: Satan has been a joy to write. Funny and flamboyant but with a sympathetic edge to them.

Q: What is your writing process like?

TH: I usually start with a lot of research: I usually write around topics involving a lot of mythology, or in this case, religion, so I typically need the information before I get started. I usually work with my laptop, and work when I feel in the mood or when I need to get something done.

Q: What are you hoping to get out of this experience with White Mouse?

TH: I thought it would be a fun idea to explore! White Mouse doesn’t usually work with religious shows, and I figured it could be a unique addition to contribute. I’m hoping to get some good feedback on not just my show but my writing style in general.

Q: Why did you want to work with White Mouse on this play?

TH: Where else would I go? I know White Mouse and have worked with you guys for years!

Q: Is there anything you would like to add that I may not have thought to ask about?

TH: Nope!

Don’t miss our reading of “Dead Man’s Game” this Friday at 8 pm in the Globe Room 2500

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