Amy Scarlett Theatre Designer

The Pillowman

The Pillowman

Written by Martin McDonagh

The NT Dorfman Theatre

Martin McDonagh’s play, The Pillowman (2003), tells the story of Katurian, and his brother Michael, who are taken into custody by two detectives, due to their strange connection to a series of recent child murders. The play contains several short, fairy-tale-like stories within in, and centres around darker themes such as child abuse, murder and the power of stories.

For this project, I collaborated with MA Directing student, Jasper Frost, from Mountview College and we were tasked with setting the play at the NT Dorfman Theatre. Our interpretation of the script focused heavily on the role of childhood trauma and how it carries through to adulthood. The intention of our set was for it to be representative of Kantarians’ psyche, a and the different stage levels which they travel through are symbolic of peeling back the layers of his mind and memories.

The winding-tower-like structure is representative of the worst memories and parts of ourselves, which we keep hidden away behind layers of reinforcement. This is where the Pillowman himself, a physical manifestation of Katurian’s trauma, resides.

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