University of Scranton Players to Present ‘The Pillowman’

11/07/2014

The University of Scranton Players will present “The Pillowman” by Martin McDonagh Nov. 14-16 and Nov. 21-23. From left, students Mike Kranick, Cillian Byrne and Brian Lenahan (standing) rehearse a scene from the play. Performances begin at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays in the McDade Center for Literary and Performing Arts on campus.

The University of Scranton Players will present “The Pillowman” by Martin McDonagh Nov. 14-16 and Nov. 21-23. From left, students Mike Kranick, Brian Lenahan and Cillian Byrne (seated) rehearse a scene from the play. Performances begin at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays in the McDade Center for Literary and Performing Arts on campus.

The University of Scranton Players will present the Tony-Award winning play “The Pillowman” by Martin McDonagh on Nov. 14-16 and Nov. 21-23 in the McDade Center for Literary and Performing Arts. Friday and Saturday performances begin at 8 p.m. and Sunday performances begin at 2 p.m.

Directed by Jess Chayes, the production features Cillian Byrne (as Katurian), Mike Kranick (as Tupolski), Brian Lenahan (as Ariel), James Pennington (as Michal), Dan Mauro (as Father), Lauren Garel (as Mother), and Kelly Dillon (as Girl). Local participants include Mike Kranick (Dunmore), James Pennington (West Wyoming) and Stephanie Ranzan (Stroudsburg).

“The Pillowman” has garnered numerous awards, including two Tony Awards, the 2004 Olivier Award for Best New Play, and the 2004-5 New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best New Foreign Play, and helped launch Martin McDonagh to the vanguard of theatre. The play takes place in an unnamed authoritarian state, where Katurian, a writer of grim fairy tales, which depict violence against children, has been arrested by two detectives, Tupolski and Ariel. The pretext for the arrest is that Katurian’s tales bear a striking resemblance to a series of child murders in the area, yet only one of Katurian’s stories was published.

McDonagh’s play, though based on a gruesome topic, raises important questions: Should we limit creativity? Under what circumstances? And, why? Ever since Plato dismissed poets from his ideal society in “The Republic,” writers have explored the connections between fiction and the real world. Should an author be held responsible for the content of his or her work? Far from losing its power, this question about the efficacy and culpability of artifice has continued into contemporary society, from Tipper Gore’s Parents Music Resource Center to debates about video games after the tragedy in Newtown.

In “The Pillowman,” McDonagh revises this question through a violent and brutal lens. His play seems to challenge and confound its audience at every turn. Though he sets out a range of possible answers to the question about fiction’s role and efficacy in the real world, just when it seems that the answer will be reached, the twist occurs. Such twists challenge the idea that there can ever be a moral correctness in stories. What is truth in a narrative? And is it the primary duty of a writer to tell his or her audience the truth? By the end, the question remains, and far from being certain, the answer seems more open than ever.

Tickets are available by reservation or may be purchased at the box office located on the first floor of the McDade Center on the night of the performance. General admission tickets are $10. Tickets for elementary, secondary and college students, senior citizens, and University of Scranton faculty and staff are $7.  First-year University of Scranton students may see the show for free the second weekend of the production (Nov. 21-23) by showing their Royal Cards.

For more information, contact the Players Box Office at 570-941-4318, by email at players@scranton.edu or visit www.thescrantonplayers.com or The University of Scranton Players on Facebook.

 

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