Thursday, January 17, 2008

"The Pillowman" by Martin McDonagh: February 8-16 2008

"McDonagh's bleak, tightly-written script gets its due in a successfully disconcerting mounting."

--Martin Brady, The Nashville Scene

“A writer in a totalitarian state is interrogated about the gruesome content of his short stories and their similarities to a number of child-murders that are happening in his town…”

Thus does writer Katurian Katurian describe his own precarious situation in Martin McDonagh’s brilliant, award-winning “The Pillowman.” The show premiered at London’s Royal National Theatre, winning the Olivier Award for Best New Play, before transferring to Broadway. That production, featuring Billy Crudup and Jeff Goldblum, won the Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play (Foreign), 2 Tony Awards, 2 Drama Desk Awards, and an Outer Critics Circle Award. Ben Brantley in The New York Times called it a “spellbinding stunner … [the] season's most exciting and original new play.”

The story opens with Katurian’s interrogation at the hands of investigators Tupolski and Ariel. The two carry out an often-funny, often-brutal variation on the “good cop, bad cop” routine, attempting to force Katurian into admitting some connection to a series of child murders which have striking similarities to his dark, Grimm-inspired stories. The stakes are raised even higher by the revelations that one child is still unaccounted for… and that the investigators have Katurian’s child-like brother Michal in a holding cell, ready to torture him for further information…

Nate Eppler leads the cast as Katurian. A playwright recently commissioned by the Kennedy Center and White House Historical Association, Nate has performed in the Karl May Festival in Elspe, Germany, and locally in “Sorry, Wrong Chimney” at Chaffin’s Barn. GroundWorks veteran Jack E. Chambers (Tupolski), appeared most recently in the BoilerRoom Theatre original “Billy Bob’s Holiday Hoedown,” and has appeared in many GWT productions, including “Closer,” “Enchanted April,” and “Blackbird.” J. Dietz Osborne (Ariel) has worked on the road with Martina McBride’s Joy of Christmas tour and in “Singing In The Rain” (Murry’s Dinner Playhouse, Little Rock), and at the BoilerRoom Theatre (“Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” “Gypsy”). Alex Vernon (Michal) appeared in Lamplighters’ “Guys and Dolls,” as well as in “The Country Wife” and “Hay Fever” at MTSU.

Director Megan Murphy is herself a veteran of several GroundWorks productions, appearing in “Tape,” “Blackbird,” and “Enchanted April,” and co-producing “Closer.” “The show is relevant and yet abstract, and a true page-turner, in the classic sense,” says Murphy. “It’s the truest examination of how we defend what we value and what the responsibility of an artist is.”

GroundWorks Theatre presents Martin McDonagh’s “The Pillowman” at the Darkhorse Theater, 4610 Charlotte Avenue. Performances are February 8-10 and 11-16 at 7:30pm. Tickets are $15, $12 for students and seniors. For reservations, contact the GroundWorks information line at 615.262.5485; for further information, check out

1 comment:

Robert Stone said...

In addition to the fact that Jack Chambers is one of my favorite actors, this story is about a problem that occurs with many creative persons.

What happens when the fiction and the fact become similar, what happens when one loses track of which is which, what happens when another person buys into one's fiction and begins to believe that it is what the storyteller "wants" to happen.

Storytellers are tied into their society in ways that are not quantifiable.