A Dark Thriller, With Puppets In A Puppet State

How responsible is an artist? Is murder ever acceptable, and if so when?

an interrogation scene

Photo: John Kinzer

Tupolski played by first-year M.F.A. acting student Aaron Kirkpatrick interrogates Katurian played by third-year M.F.A. acting student Jaysen Wright while Ariel played by IU senior Christopher Kleckner threatens to beat the truth out of him.

Event Information

The Pillowman

dark play by Martin McDonagh


Lee Norvelle Theatre and Drama Center

March 23-24 and 27-31, 2012

812 855 1103

Martin McDonagh’s dark play involves the brutal interrogation of a writer in a totalitarian police state.

Director Mark Kamie was first taken by the play when he saw a production in Chicago. “After I saw it, I thought I really want to do this play. In the shell of it, it’s a thriller. So, you’re guessing about what’s going to happen next. There was a strong visceral response. I was shocked at that point. And then after the play was over I was left with a lot of questions to wrestle with. Should an artist be responsible for his own work? Is murder ever acceptable, and if so when? I was left with some ethical questions to chew on.”

Dan Tracey is responsible for both the set and the props. “I was always a bit of an artist,” says Tracey. I started out as an art student and then as I sort of weaseled by way into theatre, I found that I could do art on a three dimensional, very large scale and that appealed to me.” Tracey’s large scale is even larger for The Pillowman. “It’s sort of a nebulous room, solitary and heavy. We have a large set that dwarfs the actors and with the lighting we try to create a dark, mysterious, thriller sort of feel.”

Kamie and Tracey are happy to say that their work is very much collaboration. “It’s easy to work with Dan,” says Kamie. “Even as we were starting, he came in with maybe sixty pictures and suggestions. Later, when we wanted to combine to image of the police state with all its files and filing cabinets in a dark way, he managed to work up a sort of morgue drawer for a very sinister sort of file. And then there are the puppets…but I’ll save the details about them.”

George Walker

George Walker was born in Winchester, Virginia, and raised in Owl’s Head, Maine, and Valhalla, New York. After graduating from the University of Michigan, he came to Bloomington in 1966 and completed an M.A.T. degree in English at Indiana University. George began announcing for WFIU in 1967. Currently, along with regularly hosting classical music shows, he interviews artists in a wide variety of areas and reviews plays and operas. He’s the proud father of grown sons Ben Walker (and his wife Elise Katzif Walker) and Aaron Walker. In his time away from WFIU, George enjoys an active life with wife Carolyn Lipson-Walker, singing, reading, exercising and playing guitar.

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