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A night of mystery, chaos and nervous laughter

Arts and EntertainmentA night of mystery, chaos and nervous laughter

Paris Performers’ Theatre has already finished three performances of its production of Martin McDonagh’s “The Pillowman” at the Paris Fairgrounds in the Special Events room.

The show opens in an interrogation room where the audience meets their main suspect Katurian Katurian (portrayed by Connor McGrath), a fiction author who lives in a police state, as well as the seemingly good cop Detective Tupolski (Nathan Farmer) and bad cop Detective Ariel (Deanna Stevens).

The dark comedy sees Katurian being brought in for questioning due to a string of murders that closely resemble his stories and the detectives are out to learn more about his potential involvement. The two detectives question and condemn Katurian and the content of his work.

Characters Katurian (left) and Michal (right) have a heated exchange during the performance of The Pillowman on Friday, February 17, 2023.

The three characters create a back and forth that helps to establish their characters, and the mystery at hand all while building tension throughout the first act.

A simple black and white set allows the audience to focus on the story at hand, while simultaneously creating the feeling of a drawing on paper – perhaps a drawing often included in short stories.

The plot moves quickly, and the audience is eased into the characters and the story before cranking it up several notches, often taking the audience by surprise.

Ariel (left), Katurian (centre) and Tupolski (right) open the show with a tense exchange that sets up the rest of the show and the characters during opening night of The Pillowman on Friday, February 17, 2023.

Katurian walks the detectives through his stories in question and those in the audience start to understand why he would be brought in for questioning through visual representations of his work.

Soon the audience meets Katurian’s older brother Michal (Michael Bedford) and the history about the two brothers and their upbringing starts to unfold.

Michal and Katurian have a juxtaposition that highlights their brotherly bond and its ups and downs. From Michal’s joyous nature to Katurian’s utter confusion – the two have a dynamic that helps make the audience care about them.

Audience members get a glimpse into Katurian’s dark and twisted short stories during the opening night of The Pillowman on Friday, February 17, 2023.

Viewers were kept engaged as the plot thickened and started to twist and turn, often making for nervous laughter from the audience.

The cast makes clever use of its performance space, strategically creating the feeling of different spaces with certain techniques, curtains, light and shadow.

Overall, audience members will question what they know about art, its limits and boundaries and how a show can make you physically react.

The cast of The Pillowman acknowledge its lighting and sound crew after its opening performance on Friday, February 17, 2023.

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