Sunday, March 30, 2008


By a generous invite, I managed to catch the second run of The Pillowman.

Multiple-layered play with multiple-layered protagonists. At different stages throughout the 3 hours, there's always something for the audience to ponder over. Like the different personalities of the 2 interogators, Tulpolski and Ariel. Was Tulposki really the good cop? Was Ariel a psycho one, or a tortured soul with a troubled childhood? Was Michal really the intellectually disabled brother or the cold-blooded murderer? How about Katurian - should he be found guilty, criminally because he himself committed killings (that can be morally-deemed justified), or by implication because of the grim stories he had written? And what about the old adage, "Blood runs thicker than water," when its being put to the test by the murders of some innocent children?

Though-provoking play indeed. Though several themes ran throughout the play, a most salient one only hit me towards the end, during Katurian's 'breaking of the fourth wall.'

How do we evaluate whether we have made the right choices in our lives? Who has the right to decide whether they have been right? When can evaluation of choices actually take place? Can choices that we had made stand the test of time and remain justified?

Ultimately, The Pillowman symbolises at least 3 things - at least as far as my interpretation goes: one, as a literal description for Katurian the killer and his modus operandi; two, as the literal description of the character in the short story of the same title (I believe there are more symbolisms to be drawn here, but its 4am in the morning...); and three, perhaps the most implicit of these to the audience, as the symbol of self-sacrifice. By refusing The Pillowman's "gift" to shorten what would be a grief-stricken, bleak and painful future of oneself, in order to pave for the way for someone else's brighter future, Michal's unchanging brotherly love is "immoratalised" by his own brother in the footnote of his (Katurian's) only (semi-)autobiographical short story ("The Write and the Writer's Brother"). Michal's fictional death in the story might be a tribute and atonement to the unrealised potential of what Michal would have and could have been, but portraying Michal as having to undergo the selfless sacrifice of foregoing death in exchange for self-torture and Katurian's future potential out of his own free will truly speaks volume of Michal's role as Katurian's brother.

Confusing? Yeah, certainly is. But its worth catching.



Signing off.............. Man and their stories..............

1 comment:

  1. oh my, u can write a review for the papers. :) yea. i thought it was worth catching too.