by ERIKA SASSEVILLE
In Martin McDonagh’s dark comedic masterpiece, The Pillowman, a writer is brought in to be interrogated by the police of a brutal totalitarian regime. However, it’s not for the reason you might think. Two children have been found dead, a third child is missing, and the murders resemble the writers stories. The writer, Katurian, (Corey DiNardo) is interrogated by the bullish Detective Ariel (James Napoleon Stone) and the smooth-talking Detective Tupolski (Tyler Stamm). They bring in Katurian’s intellectually disabled brother, Michal (Song Kim), who they also believe to be involved with the murders. Dark secrets of the present and past are brought to light as Katurian fights to save the only things he’s ever been proud of: his stories.
Theatre Coup d’Etat’s production, directed by Rich Remedios, finds its strength in it’s actors. The cast makes the most of the very text-heavy script and finds space to shine in the darkness of the plot. DiNardo is excellent as the panicked storyteller. He weaves through the tapestry of fear, love and loss with ease, never losing the audience’s allegiance. Song Kim, as Michal, is heartbreakingly sweet and tragic as the only person that Katurian has left, and the only weakness he has. Posing as the “good cop” and “bad cop” are Stamm as Tupolski and Stone as Ariel. From the moment they burst into the interrogation room they are every inch the terrifying totalitarian cops they need to be. However, as with every character in this play, are adept at finding and executing the dark humor imbedded in the text. Stamm, in particular, is uniquely good at rendering the duality of the sinister and snarky Tupolski.
The set and lighting design, by Tyler Stamm and Mark Kieffer respectively, highlight the starkness of the interrogation room and create a visually striking backdrop for the shadow puppetry employed during Katurian’s tales of “The Writer and the Writer’s Brother” and “The Little Jesus.” I encourage anyone who enjoys a bit of dark, Irish comedy to see The Pillowman, the performances alone are enough to keep you at the edge of your seats.
WARNING FROM THE COMPANY: This show includes graphic violence, elements of torture, child abuse, disturbing adult content, flashing lights, and simulated gun use.
Playing now through July 20th. Admission is sliding scale, $18-$40. Tickets available at www.theatrecoupdetat.com. SpringHouse Ministry Center is located at 610 W 28th St., Minneapolis, MN.