How much of your life can be influenced by a childhood experience? Martin McDonagh, often praised as the genius playwright of the 21st century, wrote The Pillowman to explore this question. The horror and wit, which can be described as original and outlandish, are interwoven with sadness. It all begins in the interrogation room at the police station. Katurian is arrested after being accused for a slew of child murders. His brother, Michal, is also being held as a suspect in the next room. Two detectives on the case question Katurian’s story and are convinced that the two brothers are the culprits. As the interrogation ensues, Katurian’s stories unveil the horrific childhoods he and his brother experienced, and eventually, lead to the case being solved.
The story births another story. Katurian’s explanations follow the rules of storytelling, and his violent and dark stories make the general direction of the play clear. The piece is made up of intriguing stories such as “The Three Gibbet Crossroads,” “The Writer and the Writer’s Brother” and “The Pillowman,” to name a few. The show made its debut in the UK in 2003, with its first run in Korea in 2007 with famed actor Choi Min-sik and garnered considerable attention. Last staged in 2013, this year’s cast includes Jung Won-cho and Lee Hyeong-hoon as the two brothers, and Yoon Sang-hwa and Kim Soo-hyun play the two officers.