“The Pillowman” a Killer at Elmwood Playhouse not for the Squeamish

BY GEORGE J. DACRE
PHOTOS BY DEB FAILLA

Katurian (Tom Mazzarella l.) tells one of his stories (L-R Stacey Cretekos, Matthew Quirk, Seth Ginsberg)
Katurian (Tom Mazzarella l.) tells one of his stories (L-R Stacey Cretekos, Matthew Quirk, Seth Ginsberg)

Elmwood, well known for its avant garde performances, hits the mark for shocking theatre with “The Pillowman,” a play about the stories that Katurian, played by Tom Mazzarella, wrote and that his somewhat retarded brother Michael (Neil Battinelli) part acted out.

Author Martin McDonagh spins a tangled web over this epic thriller that includes enactment of a murder on stage, the killing of his parents by one brother, frequent use of the “F” word, a gunshot killing and stark, dramatic performances by some very good actors.

The time is now and the place, an unnamed totalitarian state with the action in a police interrogation room and a prison cell. Policemen Tupolski (Scott Nagle) and Ariel (John Ade) are tough guys who question Katurian brutally with Ariel beating him to get him to explain why he wrote stories about killing children and some other people.

The scene drifts into “Once Upon A Time” with Katurian and Michael together trying to find out what had really happened in their tormented lives. Tupolski and Ariel are adamant in their pursuit of the killers of the children and adults.

This is a play that you will want to see to follow the dialogue and the action and the many twists and turns. I guarantee you will not be bored. The action, under the direction of Debra Lee Failla is intense and the ending is totally dramatic.

McDonagh’s writing is inspired, and I mean in more ways than one. You cannot fail to follow the story after story that emerges from “The Pillowman.”

Michal (Neil Battinelli l.) listens to a story being told by Katurian (Tom Mazzarella r).
Michal (Neil Battinelli l.) listens to a story being told by Katurian (Tom Mazzarella r).

Tom Mazzarella gives a first rate performance as does Neil Battinelli. John Ade and Scott Nangle are terrific.

Adding to the show and the presentation of the stories are Stacey Cretekos, as the Woman; Seth Ginsberg, as the Man; Hannah Moore, as the Girl, Hailey Schwartz, as a Girl, and Mathew Quirk, as a Boy.

I rate “The Pillowman” at Elmwood Playhouse in Nyack Four Out of Four Stars!!!! You will find out why they call it “The Pillowman.” Enjoy!

Tickets at elmwoodplayhouse.com or 845-353-1313.