Posted by Carly Novek, Art History Major, Class of 2015
This Friday is the opening night of the play The Pillowman. I was very lucky to join Silagh last Friday evening for one of the full rehearsals. Before I dive in deeper, I should point out that theater is an area of the arts I appreciate, but don’t know too much about. I’m personally more into the fine arts-drawing, painting, design- because that is where I consider my skill set to be in. Nonetheless, I’ve always wished I was able to act and know the rush of what it must feel like to perform on stage in front of an audience.
I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect from the play, except for knowing it was written by Martin McDonagh, who is almost like a perfect blend of Arthur Miller and Quentin Tarantino. Where this may make some people skeptical, I personally love dark humor and sarcasm and could not wait to see how the plot of the show would unfold. With that, I also think many of my peers would like it as well for the same reason.
I had never seen a show at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to compare, but I guess in my experience seeing high schools shows and shows on Broadway, I didn’t expect the sense of intimacy I felt throughout the performance. Diamond Theater and it’s u-shape set up that set the stage basically inside definitely was an aspect of that close sensation, but it was also the small cast and story-like telling of the entire play.
Though it was just a rehearsal, the students all knew their lines down pat. I have no idea how they can memorize so much and say it so easily WHILE still evoking such dramatic feeling. I guess thats why they are the ones on stage, while I get to simply enjoy it and watch it all unfold. Each actor took on their role in such a believable manner. Both the large parts and small parts made the bigger image possible–and that was without all the lighting and legitimate costuming, which I’m sure in the upcoming performances will bring the show to entirely new level.
Overall, the show depicts the power of storytelling, and the essence of when both reality and imagination fuse together. It’s a story of admitting fault, realizing impacts others/decisions have on you, and lastly the ability to make choices. Though most (hopefully) of the students here, and other faculty and such seeing the show, are not story tellers who influence murders of children, the general themes of the play are relatable. The show is long (the first act itself is about 90 minutes,) but moves quick as something “exclusive” continues to develop through the plot. The play is suspenseful, dark, and yet humorous.
In conclusion, I applaud each of the actors for not only their skill, but for bringing the play alive in such a way as I got to see the other night. I’m sure they’ll kill it in the upcoming performances.