continues to impress
Award-winning The Pillowman adds to the company’s eclectic repertoire
By Byron Toben
Snowglobe Theatre, arriving on the Montreal scene in 2017, continues to make a big impression despite having a limited budget. Its play selection has been very eclectic. It has managed to produce two Shakespeares (Much Ado About Nothing and Hamlet), a Sartre (No Exit), a Synge (Riders To The Sea) and a Menotti one-act opera (The Medium).
I particularly enjoyed its clever blend of Hecht/MacArthur’s stage play The Front Page with the film version thereof, His Girl Friday. That blend was the inspiration of founder/director Peter Giser. Mr. Giser also has a knack for casting his shows from open auditions, introducing many talented performers that I, who attends so many plays, had not seen before.
Such was the case of its current production, The Pillowman. I had seen a student production years ago at McGill and was pleased with seeing it again in more mature hands. This award-winning play was written in England in 2003 by London-born Irishman Martin McDonagh. The playwright has now written about a dozen plays and four films. They feature mayhem and painful scenes, yet manage to include some humour.
Such is the case with the current show, a blend of theatre of the absurd with a dose of Kafkaesque puzzlement about what is going on.
Here Katurian, a writer (Matias Rittatore), has been picked up by two policemen for interrogation. Is it possible that inadvertent political agitations are buried in his texts? He would be glad to excise any.
Gradually, the bad cop Ariel (Genti Bejko) and the good – or less bad – cop reveal that several Katurian stories about child torture and death are similar to actual such events in the area. Did the writer himself commit the atrocities or perhaps inspire others to so do? Katurian’s brother Michal (Jonathan Reinglas) has also been arrested and perhaps tortured to reveal more.
From time to time, a side panel on stage displays children’s drawings relevant to the various stories. Also, slim child Joanna Felemegos appears occasionally in a balletic nonspeaking role as some of the victims in the stories.
Set in the mini theatre (capacity 41) of the MainLine Theatre, this production brings an immediacy that enhances the dark dreams that some viewers may have but refuse to admit… as the aforesaid Mr. Shakespeare penned, “Dive, thoughts to my soul” (Richard III).
The Pillowman continues at the Mainline theatre until November 17.
Images: courtesy of Snowglobe Theatre
Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been WestmountMag.ca’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.