The Pillowman

Today, myself and the rest of the grade 12 english or english-related classes in our school went to see a play at Berkeley Street Theatre. It was the most amazing play-watching experience of my life. The story was so incredibly twisted, cruel and funny at the same time that in the end, you’re left in shock, wonder, and complete amazement. The extremes and the humour get tangled together to create a sensational piece. Not to mention, the acting was fantastic!! Honestly.., even if you never watch plays, just try to get a seat to this show because it is unlike any horror movie you have ever seen. It is 1000 times better and I have never been so shocked watching a play (more-so than benevolence). It’s worth every penny, and more! here’s a review, taken from the website:

The Pillowman Review

Toronto’s Canadian Stage Company Stages Martin McDonagh Play.

© Sarah B. Hood

Canadian Stage Company and Birdland Theatre open CanStage’s 20th season with The Pillowman by Martin McDonagh, author of The Beauty Queen of Leenane and other works.

Toronto’s Canadian Stage Company(which has recently reverted to its full name instead of “CanStage”) and Birdland Theatre officially opened their Toronto premiere of The Pillowmanby Martin McDonagh (author of The Beauty Queen of Leenane, The Cripple of Inishmaan and other acclaimed plays) on September 20, 2007.

The play opens with a classic situation: an author named Katurian K. Katurian (Shaun Smyth) is being interrogated by two policemen in a dank cell somewhere in an unnamed “totalitarian state”. He claims to have no idea why he’s there – unless it’s because of “linkages” with the 400 or so short stories that exist only as handwritten manuscript pages in the hands of the two officers (Richard McMillan and Oliver Becker). The tension is heavy in this reversal of the common tropes of television; here, the investigating officers may be the cruelest torturers, while the suspected criminals may be just a couple of kids telling scary bedtime stories.

In any case, there are “linkages” aplenty, and although Katurian repeatedly protests his innocence, the play calls into question the responsibility of authorship and even of readership. Is it wrong to tell stories about evil? If you hear about evil and do nothing, are you complicit?

Katurian’s defence lies mainly in the idea that “a storyteller’s first (only?) duty is to tell stories”, and McDonagh may be applying the same defense to himself; perhaps his excuse for creating such a gleefully gruesome and darkly disturbing piece of writing is that it’s full of engaging, hilariously twisty stories: “The Apple Men”, “The Little Jesus”, and especially “The Storyteller and The Storyteller’s Brother”, which is told in at least four variants on both the “real” and “fictional” planes of the play.

What is the value of a story? Does it exist only on paper? If it has been told to another person, does it continue to exist, even if the manuscript is destroyed? What if it has been conceived in the mind but never told? Besides posing these philosophical questions, the play investigates whether Katurian is literally the author of terrible crimes or just an innocent bystander. In the end, Katurian does turn out to be a monster – the Pillowman of the title, in fact, a fairytale creature who brings death with a big smile and a soft heart. But it’s still far from clear whether there’s any blame to lay or where it should be assigned.

In this production, the entire ensemble gives compelling, tightly paced and gripping performances that bring the text’s moral ambivalence sharply into focus. A strong and successful opening to the Canadian Stage Company’s 20th anniversary season.

The Pillowman runs to October 27, 2007 at Canadian Stage – Berkeley Street Theatre, 26 Berkeley Street, Toronto. Tickets are available via 416-368-3110 or 416-872-1111.

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2 Responses to “The Pillowman”

  1. 1 Uic Seo June 5, 2016 at 7:13 am

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  2. 2 シースリー 銀座 March 25, 2017 at 12:54 am


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