The Pillowman

Pillowman_program.jpgMy wife and I got out last night to see Hyde Park Theater’s production of Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman. Here’s the description from their site:

In this very black comedy indeed, a short story writer (Jude Hickey) must answer to the police when his horrifying–and unpublished–fictions begin to come true. And once the police (Kenneth Wayne Bradley and Ken Webster) question the writer’s mentally impaired brother (Mark Pickell), the story begins a series of startling twists. Austin Arts Hall of Fame member Ken Webster directs this edgy and enthralling evening that blends black comedy and mystery into one riveting tale.

The first section is nearly 100 minutes, followed by a 10 minute intermission, and then another 50 minutes. I say this not to scare you off, but so that you’ll be prepared. We honestly contemplated leaving at intermission (and a few did leave), but I’m glad we stayed as the second section really paid off. I’d also recommend leaving the kids at home. In addition to the length, this is a very dark play that deals with child abuse, torture and murder.

It’s a dense play that takes on a lot of different themes: storytelling and the affects that stories can have on their audience, child abuse and its effects, family relationships and censorship. Nearly all of the main characters tell a story at some point during the play, not just Katurian, the writer. The play itself is named for one of the stories told and the theme of The Pillowman is woven throughout in many different ways.

Ken Webster was recently awarded Outstanding Lead Actor for his
performances in HPT’s St. Nicholas and Thom Pain (based on nothing) at the Critics’ Table Awards and was the subject of an Austin Chronicle cover story. The acting from all of the leads, direction, set design and staging were all excellent. The sparse set adds to the Kafkaesque feel of the play.

I tracked down a review in the New York Times of the Broadway production from April, 2005 if you’d like to check out another opinion.

The show runs at 8:00 PM on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, June 7 – 30, 2007.

1 Comment so far

  1. David (unregistered) on June 11th, 2007 @ 7:38 am

    I saw a production of this play at UT put on by a couple of undergrads this past semester and it was a fantastic play – I highly recommend it! I might have to get out to Hyde Park and see this show too.

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