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"It's not about being or not being dead, it's about what you leave behind."- Katurian in The Pillowman

 

Winner of the 2004 Olivier Award for Best Play. Tony-Nominated in 2005 for Best Play.

With echoes of Stoppard, Kafka, and the Brothers Grimm, THE PILLOWMAN centers on a writer in an unnamed totalitarian state who is being interrogated about the gruesome content of his short stories and their similarities to a series of child murders. The result is an urgent work of theatrical bravura and an unflinching examination of the very nature and purpose of art.

 

December 4-20, 2015

Tue, Thu, Fri @ 7pm
Sat @ 2pm & 8pm
Sun @ 5pm

The Seeing Place @ the Clarion Theater
309 East 26th St (at 2nd Ave), NYC

 

SYNOPSIS:


In an interrogation room in an unnamed totalitarian dictatorship, Katurian, a writer, is being interrogated by two detectives. Next door, Katurian’s brain damaged brother Michal waits. The detectives want to know why Katurian’s stories feature gruesome plots about child murder and torture, and in particular, why they seem to mirror a string of recent child murders in the area. This brutal dark comedy from Martin McDonagh, the master of the horror-comedy, poses unanswerable questions: Can stories hold the power to cause atrocities? Where is the line between truth and fairy tale? Is a life of horror worth living at all? Drawing on inspiration as diverse as Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Kafka, and Antonin Artaud, The Pillowman is a dark, twisty, and utterly unforgettable masterpiece from one of Ireland’s most treasured writers.

"Energizing…a blindingly bright black comedy…[what makes] the unsettling and exhilarating new play from Mr. McDonagh…so gripping as theater is how narrative art becomes the play's and the character's very life blood." —NY Times. "[McDonagh is] a dangerously prodigious master of theatrical form with a talent that goes far deeper than most people understand…THE PILLOWMAN [is] thoroughly startling and genuinely intimidating." —Chicago Tribune. "A complex tale about life and art, about fact and illusion, about politics, society, cruelty and creativity." —Financial Times.

Playing in rotating repertory with GIDION'S KNOT, the heartbreaking drama by Johnna Adams.

“Both THE PILLOWMAN and GIDION’S KNOT explore mans’ compulsion to right the wrongs of the world through creative expression,” says TSP Managing Director Erin Cronican. “In both plays a violent and prolific writer has the authorities up in arms, who accuse him of threatening the very core of ‘civilized’ society. By examining this single puzzle through two texts, we’re initiating a passionate debate on civil liberties that are deeply violated by unchecked authoritarian brutality.”

Running Time: 2 hours 20 minutes, plus a 15 minute intermission.

Get your tickets here.

 

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Production Photos - Click for Slideshow

(Photos by Natasha Straley. Click here or on a photo above for comprehensive photo gallery.)

 

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Reviews for THE PILLOWMAN

Myra Chanin, Huffington Post- "The Seeing Place is a creative, supportive, artistic home for actors who want to grow and hone their craft. Managed by Founding Directors Brandon Walker and Erin Cronican, both first class performer/directors, The Seeing Place also takes pride in making live theater affordable at $15 ticket prices. In the company's intimate performing space at The Clarion Theater, the viewers are close enough to the performers to feel like quasi-participants in the tough, contemporary dramas, presented two at a time in repertory. Their current offering -- Martin McDonagh's The Pillowman and Johnna Adams' Gidion's Knot-- are emotion-charged studies of dysfunction, domination, torture and death."

Howard Miller, Talkin' Broadway- "If you are seeking a fun and creepy evening of Grand Guignol theater filled with blood and horror, you need look no further than The Seeing Place’s revival of Martin McDonagh’s darker-than-dark comedy The Pillowman. The tight-knit company appears to be having a ball as the actors sink their teeth into carrying out McDonagh’s credo...Fortunately for us, The Pillowman is not unrelentingly bleak. Instead, it offers up just enough sarcasm, gallows humor, irony, and snarky observations, divvied out at just the right times with just the right tone...That surrealistic feel is nicely abetted by Mark Fingerhut’s Dada-like projections and Mr. Walker’s avant-garde sound design.”

Courtney Antonioli, Stage Buddy- "The Pillowman is a complex play that merges the realism of the interrogation and murders with the imagination of the storyteller...Mr. D’Arcangelo brings an understatement and humor to the very grave proceedings while Keeler remains believably anxious, angry, and intense...With lighting changes and visual effects, the play shifts between the imagined (acted out by the three storyteller characters) and the real...Throughout the first act Mr. Walker’s use of arrogance and at times indifference to the unfolding events plays well with the contrast in the second act. He makes you believe his complete devotion to his writing and seeing it outlive him, as the world begins to close in on him."

Sara Zweig, Letters from the Mezzanine- "THE PILLOWMAN WILL GIVE SOME NEEDED CHILLS THIS WARM WINTER: A disturbing reflection on violent folktales and the cultures that produce them, The Pillowman is a must-see for anyone who enjoys their theatre with a hearty dose of harrowing surprises, moral dilemmas, and cynical humor."

Nelson Diaz-Marcano, Manhattan With A Twist- "Uncomfortably Beautiful “The Pillowman” Playing at The Seeing Place Theater: “The Pillowman” by Martin Mcdonagh is a play about storytelling as much as Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” is, and in the hands of The Seeing Place, the story gets a great performance...fiercely tackled in this production by directors Brandon Walker and Erin Cronican, who put on a strong showing...The Seeing Place is a company that prides itself in its acting style, and I can see why...Brandon Walker, pulling a double duty here, plays the main character with such agony that the sympathy is gained no matter how abhorrent his fiction is, because we know how much more vile his backstory was. But this is Daniel Michael Perez and Logan Keeler’s show. Their arcs allow Katurian to express the importance of stories, their place in the universe, and the importance of keeping them alive. It also helps that their work was phenomenal, and was enhanced by the chorus that serve as the figures to Katurian’s work."

Zachary Conner, Theater Is Easy- "The Seeing Place Theater’s production of The Pillowman makes up with raw, memorable performances from its central characters...it’s almost startling how effective the performances given by Brandon Walker, Logan Keeler, and Daniel Michael Perez are in whisking you away from a small black box theater, to smack-dab in a grim and menacing interrogation room...Keeler’s performance as Ariel is particularly memorable, presenting us with a man tortured by the memories of his father...it’s the story’s more relevant themes of police corruption and human rights that co-directors Brandon Walker and Erin Cronican really help to resonate in audience members. This piece runs in rep with Johanna Adams' Gidion’s Knot—a play dealing with the same theme of how storytellers are dealt with by fearful authorities. Given the political and social climate of the world at the time of writing this review, it’s a fantastic introspective into the social plight of police brutality experienced by many minorities today.."

Marti Sichel, Woman Around Town- "The Pillowman is a frightening, deliciously disturbing piece of theater. It has the power to baffle and intrigue you, urging each watcher to piece together horrible pictures while sending a chill right up their spine...John D’Arcangelo as Tupolski...carried humor and foreboding, a frightening combination because you never know which it will be when confronted with a new twist...There are actually three other actors in the play who serve as embodiments of Katurian’s characters, and maybe the memories of the ghosts of Katurian and Michal’s past. They spend large portions of the play watching silently over the action...When they’re in the spotlight, however, the effect is chilling."

Myra Chanin, Theater Pizzazz- "The Seeing Place specializes in tough, contemporary dramas, presented two at a time in repertory. Their current duo – Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman and Johnna Adams’ Gidion’s Knot are mind and emotion-boggling examinations of dysfunctional behavior that results in domination, torture and death...The Clarion Theater’s intimate performing space totally connects the audience to the performers. The play’s eerie past, present and future villainy is ably co-directed by Erin Cronican and Brandon Walker who also stars as Katurian. Their spooky result sent chills up my spine...[The Pillowman and Gidion's Knot] are both interesting but difficult plays to watch. About base human emotions and human stupidity, they’re troubling and affecting. And I can’t think of any company that could perform them as well as The Seeing Place Theater does…"

Richard Soucie, Sotheby's Today: "We all know that old expression “You get what you pay for”. Often in New York City you get less than you pay for. I’m thinking of a shoe-box size studio apartment renting for $3000 a month. However there are times that you can score a bargain and for the $15 dollar ticket price (which is about the cost of the “service charge” on a ticket to The Lion King) this first rate production was worth every penny and then some. I had the opportunity to see “The Pillowman” when it played on Broadway in 2005 starring Billy Crudup and Jeff Goldblum. I found the experience both haunting and thought-provoking and this is exactly how I’d describe The Seeing Place’s production..."

Lara Fram, Rave Reviews NYC: "Many of these stories are macabre and reminiscent of old Twilight Zone episodes. But McDonagh has a bigger agenda than just horrifying an audience. He asks us to consider a storyteller’s responsibility — who controls these stories after he dies and if the government has the right to censor a writer’s works. Heady ideas for a story that is grisly and deranged. The Seeing Place, an ensemble of actors and directors who all wear multiple hats, are clearly invested in what they do. They work on a shoestring budget in a small theater in Kips Bay. This production of The Pillowman is nuanced and disturbing and probably just what Martin McDonagh intended."

...and a tweet from Lara Fram, Rave Reviews NYC- "Even though I won't be able to sleep tonight #ThePillowman at @TheSeeingPlace is worth seeing. Masterful storytelling and acting..."

"Euphemia", Patron Review on Theatermania- "The Seeing Place Theater Always Seeks Out Challenges: The Pillowman is a highly disturbing and complex play that many other indie ensemble theaters would have run away from, but not Brandon Walker and Erin Cronican, the two co-founders and directors, who are always fearless. Brandon Walker never fails to give a gritty performance and although the entire ensemble is stellar, I was particularly impressed with Daniel Michael Perez's performance as Michal, the special needs brother in the play. He was subtle and believable in his interpretation of the role of a limited man who is both victim and villain. Throughout the performance, I kept thinking about the quotes in the Bible RE: "the sins of the father" and "although my mother and father forsake me". Although this was a highly dramatic example of it, we are all challenged by overcoming the legacies of the limitations past down to us from our parents and our parents' parents. . .5 STARS"

"Little Therese", Patron Review on Theatermania- "A thoroughly mesmerizing production of a play that is impossible to just walk away from and forget. It is haunting. As I have come to expect, after seeing eight previous plays presented by The Seeing Place Theater, each member of the cast portrayed McDonagh's largely unlikable characters to perfection.See it in this new east side venue, a delightful addition to this part of town. 5 STARS"

Dan Thorp, Patron Review on Theatermania- "5 STARS. First of all, this play is wonderfully written. Layers and depth a plenty and The Seeing Place does it justice with it's organic acting once again. This is the 3rd show I've seen this company perform and everytime the lead actor blows me away. Don't bring your kids to this show and sit on the left side."

"Eusebius", Patron Review on Theatermania- "The Pillowman- Sweet Dreams: This is passionate theater, skillfully acted and meticulously directed. The Seeing Place is always an adventure, all for less then the cost of a 3D movie."

"cavrqt2", Patron Review on Theatermania- "Great show! Wonderfully acted, perfectly paced...a great theater evening. 5 STARS."

"CJH", Patron Review on Theatermania- "5 STARS. Interesting, complex, well performed."

Anh Vuong, Patron Review on Facebook- "Thank you for a great show on Sunday. I got to experience "The Pillowman" and left the theater with chills running down my spine. Even now I'm still trying to digest the show (I'm getting the same kind of feeling you'd get after waking from a really vivid, intense dream and you're trying to capture all the details while you still can before they fade away.) I loved the minimalistic set, the haunting effect of the projected animations, the truthfulness of the deeply committed actors. How wonderful it is to know I can experience all this without spending an arm and a leg! Thank you for your devotion to sharing great live theater, TSP!"

Jeff Gaster, Patron Review on Facebook- "Intense and riveting...Daring doubleheader of Pillowman Gidion's Knot this weekend by the indefatigable Seeing Place company. I would have never expected to find such an intense theater experience in the middle of a Kips Bay housing project--but good things await those who venture off the beaten path..."

 

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CAST (in alphabetical order):

Charles Baran (as Father/Storyteller) Past roles for Charles include: The Cradle Will Rock at Theater 80 St. Marks in NYC, Geoffrey and Jeffrey in the Thespis Festival at Cabrini Rep (2013 Best Actor nomination), Pins and Needles at Theater 80 St. Marks and LaMama, The Kingdom at Mabou Mines, Walkabout Yeolha at Columbia Stages, The File on J Edgar Hoover in the 2013 Fresh Fruit Festival, THE HOME at Planet Connections Festival (2014 Best Actor Nomination), Horace Vandergelder in Hello Dolly at The Interlakes Summer Theater. Film work includes Amos Posner’s independent short "Perspective" and Christhian Andrew’s "A Foreign Heart of Hope." Webseries "Watercooler Madness" playing the role of Sam. www.charlesbaran.com

   
Olivia Baseman* (as Mother/Storyteller) is an actress, singer, writer and producer. Her film and television credits include Darren Aronofsky’s Oscar nominated film "The Wrestler", "Chappelle’s Show" (the Rick James ep.), "Elementar"y, "Next Caller", "Surviving Family", "The Beautiful Life", "Away We Go…" Olivia has appeared Off and Off Off Broadway as well as regionally. She was most recently seen on stage in New York in Julia Lee Barkley Morton’s MY FIRST AUTOGRACE HOMEOGRAPHY 1973-74“ at Brooklyn’s acclaimed experimental theatre “The Brick” where Olivia has been a regular performer since 2007. Member AEA, SAG-AFTRA. www.oliviabaseman.com
   
John D'Arcangelo (as Tupolski) went to Ithaca College, studied in London, and received his BFA in acting (Magna cum laude with department honors). A list of his favorite roles must include: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Nick Bottom); Twelfth Night (Sir Toby Belch); A Streetcar Named Desire (Mitch); The Boys Next Door (Norman Bulanski); The Man Who Came To Dinner (Sheridan Whiteside); Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (George); 1776 (Ben Franklin); The Normal Heart (Ned Weeks); The Lisbon Traviata (Mendy); Orphans (Harold); Lend Me A Tenor (Saunders); The Diary of Anne Frank (Mr. VonDann); Beyond Therapy (Bruce); Opera Play (Umberto Eccarazzi); Masquerade (Mario); Geeks! The Musical (Mel) and Blood Privilege (King Matthias).
   
Brisa Freitas (as Girl/Storyteller) After graduating from Cornell University, Brisa moved to LA to work in film and commercials. But after a year and a half, she missed theater too much and made the move to NYC to shift her focus to theater, her first love. She's studied improv at the United Citizens Brigade and has worked on a number of different projects both in film and theater in NYC. Having recently completed a tour with CLIMB Theatre, an educational children's theater, she is excited to be back in the city with The Seeing Place, where she is also producing a web series called TYPE CAST. Web: www.BrisaFreitas.com
   
Logan Keeler (as Ariel) joined The Seeing Place in 2013. This is his fifth show with the group following MEN IN WHITE as Dr. Pete Bradley, the role of Michael in TWO ROOMS, Cassio in OTHELLO, and the Andy Paris track in THE LARAMIE PROJECT. Recent productions include THREEPENNY OPERA, NEXT TO NORMAL, HARVEY, and his Off-Broadway debut as Bernie Bartok in the first revival of MONEY: THE MUSICAL. Logan is a graduate of Connecticut College and The William Esper Studio in New York City and studied at The British American Drama Academy in London.
   
Daniel Michael Perez (as Michal) is an actor, writer and director based out of New York City. He's studied acting at the William Esper Studios, The Barrow Group and improvisation at the Upright Citizens Brigade. He made his professional acting debut playing Roddey in The Seeing Place Theater's production of THREE SISTERS and his directorial debut with DOG SEES GOD: CONFESSIONS OF A TEENAGE BLOCKHEAD at The Barrow Group Theater.
   
Brandon Walker* (as Katurian) is an NYIT nominated actor for his work in The Seeing Place's DANNY AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA. Other previous shows with The Seeing Place: DYING CITY (Craig/Peter); THE LARAMIE PROJECT (Stephen Belber Track); MEN IN WHITE (Dr. Ferguson); HAMLET (Hamlet); ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD (Hamlet); A LIE OF THE MIND (Jake), LOVE SONG (Beane), THE CREDEAUX CANVAS (Winston), WHEN WE HAVE GONE ASTRAY (Ira), WAITING FOR LEFTY (Sid), LOOK BACK IN ANGER (Jimmy), TWELFTH NIGHT (Malvolio), CLOSER (Dan), THREE SISTERS (Andrey), and THE LOVER (Richard). He has worked with The Old Globe, La Jolla Playhouse, Poor Players, New Village Arts, Moxie Theatre, ion Theater, North Coast Rep, Sierra Rep, and Barnstormers Theater. Member AEA. Training: David Gideon.
   
Autumn Mirassou (as Understudy) Autumn's most recent credits include: Can I Help You (Pam) at the Thespis Theater Festival, Meet Prey Love: Checking Out (Kelly) and Declassified: The WASP's Nest (Margot) with Wednesday Repertory Company, Glass Cannon (Dani) which she also produced, and several staged readings with Theater 2020. She studied acting at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama [MA Acting] in London.
   
Dan Thorp* (as Understudy) Dan enjoys all areas of theatre and film (acting, directing, producing, writing) and has been training relentlessly at his craft with the great acting coaches of this world. He is most passionate about the history of acting and the classic material in all areas of the arts. His biggest love, outside his family, is Ibsen.
 
* = Member of AEA

 

 

Creative Team:

Co-Director

Brandon Walker - Brandon has served as The Seeing Place Theater's Artistic Director since 2009. Before moving to New York, he was the Associate Artistic Director of Poor Players Theatre Company in San Diego for six years, where he acted in over 20 Shakespearean productions. He has also produced with Life Out Loud and Actors Alliance of San Diego. He is a award winning actor, director, producer, acting coach, playwright, singer, musician, and composer. He was recently nominated for a New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Actor in a Lead Role for his performance as Danny in The Seeing Place Theater's Off-Broadway production of Danny and the Deep Blue Sea. Brandon has directed six plays and several readings with The Seeing Place, where he has also acted in 13 productions and led several workshops of new plays - most notably the World Premieres of Scotch Kiss and When We Have Gone Astray, which were both written for The Seeing Place Ensemble and developed through improvisation.

 

 

Co-Director

Erin Cronican - Erin is an award-winning producer and director, including Judd Lear Silverman's two character play, Correct Address (Actors Alliance Festival - Outstanding Direction, Outstanding Production, and Outstanding Acting awards for both actors), and Edward Musto's Shutterbug (Midtown International Theater Festival.) Erin has also directed 6 plays for The Seeing Place: BOYS' LIFE, LOVE SONG, MISS JULIE, MEN IN WHITE, ROSENCRANTZ & GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD, THE STRANGER, and co-directed 2 plays: THE LARAMIE PROJECT and OTHELLO.
 

 

Stage Management and Projections

Mark Fingerhut - Mark is a computer user and programmer who is interested in how computers can affect the future of live performance and theater. He has worked and performed in New York for five years as WOLFSHIRT, where he brings electronic video and computer performances to basements, rooftops and everything in between. He is married to strategy games, yo-yo's and pinball machines. He is not afraid of heights or people.

   
Lighting Design Duane Pagano - Duane would like to thank all involved for the opportunity to be a part of these productions. He has designed for any number of productions throughout NYC, including the Lighting for the musical WHAT DO CRITICS KNOW currently in the NYMF, THE NAVIGATOR at the WorkShop Theater Co. for which he received the NYIT award for his Lighting Design as well as a Scenic Design nomination. Off-Broadway credits include the set and lighting designs for Alternative Theater’s THE GAYEST CHRISTMAS PAGAENT EVER at The Players Theatre, OLYMPICS UBER ALLES at St. Lukes Theater and ROMEO AND JULIET for Theater Rats. Other highlights include, GODSPELL for the Circuit Playhouse in Memphis, TN, which garnered him the Best Lighting Design Award for Memphis theater and graduating from the Univ. of Miami. As always, he dedicates his work to his biggest fan.

 

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Articles about THE PILLOWMAN

 

  Broadway World - "Cast Set for The Seeing Place's Haunting Rep of THE PILLOWMAN and GIDION'S KNOT"
     
  Press Release (PDF)- “Men aren’t afraid of dying, but they are afraid of not being remembered…”

 

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