“The Pillowman,” an Irish play written by Martin McDonagh, was adapted to American theater and is being brought to the University of La Verne by Danny Bride for his senior project.
The play consists of four lead characters and four minor characters.
The main character Katurian, played by sophomore theater major Jordan Randall, is a writer who constructs dark stories that involve murder and child abuse.
“A writer in a totalitarian state is interrogated about the gruesome content of his short stories,” Mike Roche, junior technical theater and design major, said. “And their similarities to a number of child murders that are happening in his town.”
“It’s a comedy, by the way,” Roche said. “[This is] a play that kicked so hard in the gut,” Bride said. “I had to look at the world differently.”
Zachary Green, junior theater arts major plays Michal, Katurian’s mentally handicapped brother.
“It’s probably one of my most difficult works ever,” Green said.
Roche said that his character, Detective Tuposki, and Alvaro Renteria’s character, Detective Ariel, go through major character changes in the play.
“This play is as if the Brothers Grimm and Stephen King collaborated on the screenplay to be directed by Quentin Tarantino,” Bride said.
Most of the actors said that being in a small cast production is a completely different feeling.
Rehearsals for “The Pillowman” began before December and went throughout “Three Penny Opera.”
Renteria, a theater arts major, said they would sometimes have to rehearse for “The Pillowman” after rehearsing for “Three Penny Opera.”
Roche said scheduling rehearsals was complicated because it was difficult to find a time when everyone was free.
Bride said the set has never been used the way he is using it.
Normally, there is only a table and a few chairs to make up the full set, but he added a wall and flipped the entire set.
“The play is very in your face,” Renteria said.
The play is about storytelling, society, corruption, art, love and what is left behind, Bride said.
The play is filled with humor and some violence.
It makes the audience think, if this is really right and who would think and who would do these sort of things, Seirra Taylor sophomore theater arts major said.
“You’ll be entertained and disturbed at the same time,” Roche said.
“I commend everyone for doing such a great job with such dark characters,” Taylor said.
“The Pillowman” is known as a popular play and Bride said he was previously denied rights to the play, but eventually got the writer’s agent to agree.
“It’s the cheapest anyone has ever seen it,” Green said.
Free previews will be shown at 7:30 p.m. from March 5 to 7 in The Jane Dibbell Cabaret Theatre.
From March 8 to 10 admission will cost $5 for general admission and $3 for students, faculty and staff.
Ingrid Rodriguez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.