Last night I didn’t go to the Kiwi Pro Wrestling, I went to Circa theatre and saw The Pillowman‘s opening night. It’s a play written by Martin McDonagh who wrote In Bruges about a writer who is being interrogated by the police about his stories, which often feature small children being horribly killed and about the deaths of three small children.
The play has a small cast, two police officers, the writer, the writer’s brother and three people who personify some of the stories that are told by the writer. Although the play started off a little rough the actors soon warmed up and I became immersed. The play is incredibly dark, there is a bleakness there that the stories reinforce and the growing suspicion that you know who did kill those little kids and why is very real. The writer was played by Jamie McCaskill who 48hours followers will know from Darlene and Maori Detective, he was awesome.
The writer’s stories are like fairy tales. The original Grimm ones full of blood and people behaving horribly. Those stories are going to stick with me for a while because they had the same charm as the Grimm’s ones, the same dreamlike tone. The stories were told in between interrogations and conversations, woven into the overall story of the play elegantly.
There were quite a few links thematically to In Bruges, but what struck me most is the way Martin Mcdonagh can have violence and humour so skillfully woven together. Pillowman is very funny, there were moments that went from incredibly tense to hilarious in a moment. The audience was laughing so loud the actors frequently had to wait to deliver their next lines. There was also a lot of swearing like in the movie and some similar characters as well as some of the bigger themes like death and the nature of humans.
It is very much a story about writers, which really struck a note with me given my discomfort about the story I wrote on Wednesday. It dealt with why people write and what it means to produce works and the consequences of writing such things.
Because of this I point specifically at Morgue, Steve and Seraph (both G Seraph and Seraph’s Folly) and say ‘go and see this play’. I would recommend it to everyone but it certainly wouldn’t please everyone. A big chunk of two rows of seats of people didn’t come back for the second half, for example. It is chilling and shocking and hilariously funny and I suspect it is going to haunt me for some time.
The Pillowman is playing at Circa theatre until November 8th.
PoF: Pjs and robe
CO: creative pursuits