‘The Pillowman’ by Martin McDonagh – An Ugly Grotesque Comedy. I Kinda Like It.


‘The Pillowman’ by Martin McDonagh, a play  (2003) – 83 pages


My favorite movie of all the 2000s so far is probably ‘In Bruges’, a dark comedy written and directed by Martin McDonagh and starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. Since then McDonagh has written and directed the movies ‘Seven Psychopaths’ and ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’. When I found out that Martin McDonagh had been writing plays before he became a movie director and writer, I just had to read one of them.

‘The Pillowman’ is a dark comedy about a mom-and-dad killer and his child killer brother. This play is grossly offensive to a person’s sense of right or decency, and it’s great fun.

Katurian and his brother Michal are sitting in prison, waiting to be executed, Katurian for killing his parents and Michal for killing three little children.

Michal: “Don’t cry, Kat. It’ll be alright.”

Katurian: “How will it be alright? How will it ever be alright?”

Michal: “I dunno. It’s just sort of something you say at a time like this, isn’t it? ‘It’ll be alright.’ Course it won’t be alright. They’re going to come and execute us any minute, aren’t they? That isn’t alright, is it? That’s almost the opposite of alright. Mm.”

This play is definitely only for those with a warped sense of humor. I like it.

Michal: “What? My story was a happy ending. You came and rescued me and you killed Mom and Dad. That was a happy ending.”

Katurian: “And then what happened?”

Michal: “And then you buried them out behind the wishing well, and put some limes on them.”

Katurian: “I put lime on them. ‘Put some limes on them.’ what was I doing, a fruit fucking salad?”

At one point in the play, there is the following stage direction:

The dreadful details of the following are all acted out on stage.”

And in this Martin McDonagh play, that which follows is indeed dreadful.

I really couldn’t figure out the point of this play or if it even has a point. But who cares?

However much of the dialogue in ‘The Pillowman’ is grim fun, and I will continue to watch the movies of Martin McDonagh as they come out. Especially, because of  ‘In Bruges’.


Grade:   B



9 responses to this post.

  1. I think some plays work on the page and some need to be seen to work, and The Pillowman is the latter.

    Liked by 1 person


  2. Ah, how good it would be to go to a play…

    Liked by 1 person


  3. Posted by Charles Behlen on September 10, 2021 at 6:49 AM

    Good to see that, like me, you’re a sick little monkey.

    Liked by 1 person


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