George Mason University Players Bring ‘The Pillowman’ to the Stage

Posted: November 14, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

The George Mason University Players will bring Martin McDonagh’s “especially dark” comedy, “The Pillowman,” to the stage this fall.

The play will be performed at the Black Box Theater in the Performing Arts Building on Mason’s Fairfax Campus, Nov. 20 22 at 8 p.m., and Nov. 22 and 23 at 2 p.m.

The play is directed by Philip Dallmann, a junior theater major. This is his directing debut with the Players. He recently performed the role of “CB” in the Players production of “Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead.”

Set in an unnamed totalitarian state, “The Pillowman” tells the tale of Katurian, an author of fiction who is interrogated about the gruesome content of his short stories and their similarities to a number of bizarre child murders occurring in his town. The play examines the artist’s responsibility to society — an issue that has arisen recently with controversial artists whose works who have provoked public debate, such as Marilyn Manson, Quentin Tarantino and Judas Priest.

“The Pillowman” premiered in 2003 in London and opened on Broadway in 2005. The play received the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play and the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Foreign Play; it was also nominated for an Evening Standard Award, Drama Desk Award and Tony Award.

Playwright Martin McDonagh was born in London to Irish parents. He became acquainted with the dialect of western Ireland after spending summers in Galway. His plays are inspired by the work of Irish playwright John Millington Synge and the modern dramas of Harold Pinter and David Mamet, as well as British television comedies. He is the author of “The Leenane Trilogy” and “The Aran Islands Trilogy.”

He has also written two prize-winning radio plays, “The Tale of the Wolf” and “The Woodcutter.” In 2006, he won an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film for “Six Shooter,” which he wrote and directed.

In January 2008, “In Bruges,” a film McDonagh wrote and directed, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

The George Mason University Players is a dynamic faculty-directed student organization within the Theater Department. The Mainstage Series provides students the opportunity to work directly with Mason theater faculty and guest artists, while the Studio Series is selected, directed and designed by students. The Players produce eight productions each season.

Note that the content of this play has the potential to be disturbing, is highly graphic and is not appropriate for children.

Tickets are $6; $3 for students, seniors and Mason faculty and staff. There are a limited number of free tickets available for Mason students.

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