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The Pillowman

'The first duty of a storyteller is to tell a story' or was it 'The only duty of a storyteller to tell a story'

In a totalitarian state, a writer is questioned about a spate of murders that bear similarities to his short stories. Is this life imitating art or something more sinister?

This black comedy, widely regarded as one of the greatest plays of the past 25 years, examines the role of the artist in society and asks what price do we pay for freedom of expression.

The story is based around Katurian, an author of short stories. We find him in an interrogation cell, but he is not certain why he is being held, although he thinks it might have something to do with what he has written. Enter a good cop/bad cop pair to try to get to the truth. McDonagh’s story unfolds with all the suspense and horror of a fabulous thriller.

‘The Pillowman’ is a black comedy (and is about as black as it gets), and the script is bristling with witty and thought-provoking dialogue. Secretly, it might be about the power of tenderness and thoughtfulness, or it might be about the deadly responsibilities of artists. Either way, it’s a captivating night of entertainment, beginning with the dangerous power of ‘Once upon a time!’.