Posted by: wanton me | November 24, 2007

The Pillowman (very long post)

Brought Inamorata to watch The Pillowman last night at DBS Arts Centre, home of the Singapore Repetory Theatre.

Our first time there! Didn’t dare to take pictures cos very paiseh. Lots of expatriates and they were all dressed very nicely.

Olivier Award for ‘Best New Play’ (2004)
Tony Award nominee for ‘Best Play’ (2005)

“a spellbinding stunner of a play…which dazzles with a brightness now largely absent from Broadway”
New York Times


First staged in London and New York three years ago, this critically acclaimed play makes an exciting debut in Singapore under the direction of Tracie Pang (‘Best Director’ nominee – Life! Theatre Awards 2007) and stars a compelling cast of actors – Adrian Pang (‘Best Actor’ – Life! Theatre Awards 2007), Daniel Jenkins (‘Best Supporting Actor’ – Life! Theatre Awards 2007), Michael Corbidge (‘Best Actor’ nominee – Life! Theatre Awards 2007) and Shane Mardjuki (‘Best Ensemble’ nominee – Life! Theatre Awards 2007). The Pillowman, written by celebrated Irish dramatist Martin McDonagh, marries comedy and psychological drama. Set in an unnamed totalitarian state, Katurian – a fiction writer of gruesome fairy tales – has been dragged in by the police for interrogation about crimes committed in his community. They bear an uncanny resemblance to his books. As the police inspectors perform their good cop/bad cop routines to get to the bottom of the case, the audience will be led into the darkly funny and brutal world of the writer’s, and perhaps even their own imaginations.Advisory:
Mature content / Strong language (16 years and above)

The first ten minutes I was pretty squirmy in my seat because the scene began with Adrian and Shane shouting vulgarities as they interrogate the accused. It’s my first time watching a play when the actors use the F word (and it’s the only one used throughout the play, though I thought I heard Adrian’s character use the word ‘cunt’ later on, but anyway), and I kept picturing Shane shouting the F word at the kids.
For those of you who aren’t really familiar, Shane Mardjuki was the host of Spellcast 2007.
I realised this play is actually a famous one! It’s been on broadway etc. I love it! The story’s dark. The stories IN the play are dark. Here are the summaries as I recall. It’s totally different when you’re listening to the guy on stage. He’s such a brilliant story teller, Daniel Jenkins. And Martin McDonagh of course for writing the stories. The wall on the stage serves as a backdrop for the slides/pictures to be displayed on, so you get a visual picture when you listens to the story.

The summaries are for my own reference. I actually advise that nobody reads them in the event that you want to watch future plays (in singapore in or other countries) of the Pillowman.

****Super Spoilers****
Writer and the writer’s brother:
It’s about this 7 year old boy who is in his bedroom filled with wonderful kiddy toys, in a world filled with love from his doting parents. But each night he hears screams and drill noises coming from the adjacent room. It’s actually his 8 year old brother being tortured. It’s a psycho experiment designed by his parents. Each this the boy hears the noises, he will ask his parents what’s that noise? And his parents will say “Why darling it’s just the wild imagination you have.” The parents did this so that the boy will grow up writing awesome stories.
To cut it short, In the end, the boy discovered his brother, and he used the pillow to kill his parents while they were asleep.

The Pillowman:
No that wasn’t the meaning of the pillowman. The Pillowman is a story about er, well, a Pillowman. His head was a pillow; his fingers were little pillows; body was a pillow. It reminded me of the marshmallow man in GhostbusterS! I’ll put up a picture found in the prog guide the next time.
So this Pillowman has a very sad job. His job is to go around looking for sad people. He wants people to be happy, and he hates it when people are sad. When the people tell him how sad they are, the pillowman will tell them that it’s useless living for the past few years only to arrive at this sad stage of your life. His solution? To go back in time and kill the sad people when they were children. This is so that the children wouldn’t grow up and wouldn’t have to go experience this sad period. But this Pillowman doesn’t do the actual killing. He coerces the kids to commit suicide themselves, and the means will always be cruel. His reasoning is that parents will be able to accept it more if their kids were killed in a car accident than say jumped off a building.One day Pillowman was sick of this life. He didn’t wanna help anyone anymore. He decided to just help one more person. From afar, this kid walks up to him. He looked just like him – a small pillowman. Big pillowman told the small pillowman his job, and the small pillowman understood perfectly. The big pillowman burnt the small pillowman. As the small pillowman was engulfed in flames, the big pillowman saw that he was smiling. The small pillowman was happy.

(I wasn’t quite sure of this story. I think the big pillowman went back to burn himself because he wasn’t happy about his job/life anymore. Dark right! I like~.)

The little boy in the town by the river:
There was this little boywho came from a poor family. He did not have any footwear. He played by the river. One day, a man on a horse came by. He was dressed in a dark coat. The boy was not afraid, despite how scary the man looked. The boy even shared his sandwich with the man. The sandwich would have been his supper. The man said he would give the boy something in return, something that he will be thankful for not now, but in the near future. He told him to close his eyes. The boy did as he was told.
The man took out a big axe and cut off the little boy’s 5 toes.The little boy looked in shock. The man rode off on his horse.The End.

(This was supposed to be a horror modification of the story of the Pied Piper. In that story, the pied piper played the pipe to attract the children out of the town. (This was after he came to attract the rats out and the villagers refused to pay him.) All the children were captured except two who were lame and couldn’t keep up. Thus in the above story, chopping off his toes was a gift for the little boy.)

Little Jesus:
A girl thinks she’s the 2nd coming of Jesus. She starts going about blessing people. One day the church called up the parents, telling them that the girl was starting to irritate the church-goers. The parents get on the car, and were killed in a car crash on the way there.

The girl was adopted by a couple living in a slum. At first they didn’t think anything of the girl, but eventually they got very pissed. They made her wear a crown made of thorns, until her forehead bled. They whipped her with the father’s belt.

They asked, “Do you still wanna be Jesus?”
The girl hesitated for a moment, before saying , “Yes , I wanna be Jesus.”

They then made her carry a wooden plank across the back of her neck and walk till her knees broke and her legs twisted the wrong way, and they asked, “Do you still wanna be Jesus?”
The little girl hesitated just for a little longer.
“Yes, I want to be Jesus.”

Then they twisted her legs back the right way, and hung her on the wall behind them while they watched tv and ate. They asked, “Do you still wanna be Jesus?”

The girl hesitated again, and she knew her answer would be different.
“No, because I FUCKING AM JESUS!”

So her father took a sharp wooden stick and shafted it into the girl’s abdomen, and left her there for the night.

The next morning, they came out into the living room, and to their surprise and horror, the girl was not dead. They decided to bury her alive. The little girl was glad, because she knew she would be rising from the ground 3 days after she was buried.

3 days later, a man walked over the ground where the girl was buried in her wooden box. Despite all her scratchings on the box, the guy could not hear her because he was deaf.

He walked away.

The End.

The deaf Chinese boy on a railway track in China:
This story was said by Adrian’s character in the play. It’s supposedly about his life in detective work.
There was this Chinese boy in China. He’s deaf. One day he was walking along the railway tracks. Suddenly, there was a train speeding in his direction! The train was moving so fast that even if the driver saw the boy, he would not have stopped in time. The boy couldn’t hear. The boy was gonna die!

Somewhere beside the tracks was a high tower. In the high tower there was this old Chinese man with those Chinese moustaches. He stared at the window, and saw that the deaf kid was gonna die in a few seconds.

[At this point the suspect interrupted him by asking how did the man know that the boy was deaf. haha. Adrian appeared stunned for awhile and the audience laughed.
“The man the boy’s hearing aid!” ]

The man could have rushed down the tower and told the boy his impending danger. But he didn’t. He did calculations. He calculated that the boy would be hit 10 yards from where the tower was right now. Then he merely folded a paper aeroplane, threw it out of the window, and nonchalantly walked back to his seat.

At 11yards from where the tower was, the boy leapt to catch the paper aeroplane, and the train zoomed past right behind him.

The end.
The accused asked, what has this gotta do with your detective work? (I didn’t get it either.)

The exasperated Adrian Pang said “Why don’t you get it? Wasn’t I clear enough? The old chinese man in the tower, is me. I’m the head detective. The little boy, are my men. Sometimes my men have trouble coming their way. They can’t see it. Only I can see it. And I have to rescue them.”

Accused: “Oh you mean the old man meant to save the boy?”
“Yes of course! Wasn’t I clear enough? He folded the aeroplane and threw it out of the window!”
“Oh it’s just that you know, he walked back to his seat, without even caring what happened after that.”
“It’s because the old man was very good in folding aeroplanes and throwing aeroplanes! He did not even need to see where it will land. He knows where it will land.”
“Ah I see I see…”

(Everyone laughed. Haha. Then Adrian’s character said that his story was such a nice one with a nice ending, unlike the accused where people die etc. He said if the accused had written this story, the train would have killed the boy and the train would have reversed and gone forward and reversed and gone forward a few times haha.)

The story of the green pig:
Once upon a time, there was a pig. He was everything a pig, except his colour was green. It wasn’t a normal kinda green, it was the luminous glow in the dark kinda green. All other pigs on the farm laughed at this green pig, but the green pig felt alright. “I am unique,” the green pig said.
One day the other pigs were making so much noise about this green pig that the farmers took the green pig in. They painted the green pig with the normal type of pig coloured paint. This paint was special. It could never be washed off, and it could never be painted over.

The other pigs laughed at the once-green pig. The pig became sad. “Oh God why? I only want to be special.”

That night, the sky turned dark and it became to rain. The rain was not like normal rain. It was luminous glow in the dark green in colour, and it could not be washed off, and it could not be painted over. All the pigs were drenched.

When the rain stopped, all the pigs turned luminous green, except the originally green pig which was now in pig colour. His pig coloured paint could not be washed off, and it could not be painted over.

The once luminous green pig was now special again.

The end.
(The only non-dark story in the show, which was depicted as the favourite of the brother of the accused. It is perhaps so because the brother is a little retarded and he is a little special compared to the rest.”


There’s a little pillowman related ending to the play too, but that would mean the whole story of the criminal case involved.

Awesome show!

Awesome seats! 6 rows from the front. I thank myself for getting them, and I thank Inamorata for accompanying me. I know she does not appreciate these dark shit as much as I do.

Really enjoyed it. Amazon’s selling the book. I’m checking of it’s selling at the major bookstores first.

2257 words.



  1. […] Operation Morning Star – MySpace Blog wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptFor those of you who aren’t really familiar, Shane Mardjuki was the host of Spellcast 2007. … The boy even shared his sandwich with the man. The sandwich would have been his supper…. […]

  2. nice stories… but you mean the play was about TELLING stories?

  3. Play was about this author who writes weird stories about children being killed. And he’s being suspected by the police for a series of murders where the victims died in the same way as depicted in the stories he wrote.

    The stories I summarised are the stories told in the play lor. What the author wrote… stories from the detective etc…

  4. […] For those of you whom have been reading my blog, I gave an awesomely rave review (and total spoilers) about the performance here . […]

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