Set in an unnamed totalitarian state, The Pillowman tells the story of Katurian, whose life centers around caring for his mentally challenged brother and writing gruesome fairy tales that are part Brothers Grimm and part Stephen King. After children start showing up dead, murdered in ways described in his stories, Katurian is arrested. The play begins with him being questioned by two hard-hitting detectives, Tupolski and Ariel, who perfect their good cop/bad cop routine in a sometimes funny, but slightly sick and tormenting interrogation. Katurian soon discovers that the screams he has heard from an adjoining room are those of his brother Michal. As Tupolski and Ariel continue to cajole, taunt and terrorize the writer, both they and the audience journey into the darkly funny and brutal world of Katurian's imagination.
With black humor and an ironic bite that masks a deeply serious sense of purpose, The Pillowman takes on some of modern society's most intriguing issues such as what defines art, censorship, the rights of an individual, and the power of storytelling.
NOTE: While this play is described as a black comedy, it also contains very intense and disturbing moments. This play contains situations and language that some may find disturbing or offensive.