‘The Pillowman’: University Theatre presents Tony Nominated play from Academy Award nominated playwright

A pen sketch of a person with a sideways smile and Xs between the Os for eyes on a dirty background.

By Miguel Gastelum, Communication Specialist/Box Office Manager

Fresno State’s University Theatre presents the final production of the 2022-2023 Mainstage season, “The Pillowman” written by Martin McDonagh and directed by J. Daniel Herring.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. May 5 – 6 and May 9 – 13, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 7, at the John Wright Theatre. Tickets are $17 for adults, $15 for Fresno State faculty, staff, alumni and military and $10 for all students. Due to adult language and themes, this production is intended only for mature audiences. Children under 13 are not permitted.

Katurian, a writer of short stories that often depict violence against children, has been arrested by two detectives, Ariel and Tupolski, because some of his stories resemble recent child murders. When he hears that his brother Michal has confessed to the murders and implicated Katurian, he resigns himself to being executed but attempts to save his stories from destruction. 

The play contains both narrations and reenactments of several of Katurian’s stories, including the autobiographical “The Writer and the Writer’s Brother,” which tells how Katurian developed his disturbed imagination by hearing the sounds of Michal being tortured by their parents.

“Martin McDonagh is a master at writing dark comedy,” says director J. Daniel Herring. “His characters are complex and fully three-dimensional and perhaps even seem a bit odd in normal everyday situations. ‘The Pillowman’ storyline wholeheartedly adheres to the characteristics of dark comedy. This play, like many of McDonagh’s works, uses satire and dark humor to examine subjects that are depressing, frightening, unpleasant, or taboo. Dark comedies simultaneously entertain and expose corners of the human condition that make the audience at times laugh at serious situations and in turn feel uncomfortable.”

The production is double-cast and includes Mason Beltran, Nico J. DiViccaro, Grant Hill, Randy Kohlruss, Tyler Murphy, Luke Robert Nothstein, Jonathan Disan Perez, Mikayla Rockwell, Carlos Oliviera Sanchez, Joshua Slack, and Diego Sosa.

DiViccaro, Hill, Sanchez, and Slack will perform on May 5, 7, 10, and 12, 2023.  Beltran, Kohlruss, Murphy, and Nothstein will perform on May 6, 9, 11, and 13, 2023. Perez, Rockwell, and Sosa will perform at all performances. 

Fresno State no longer requires masks to be worn indoors, but based on updated guidance from public health experts, the University highly recommends that all students, faculty, and staff, regardless of vaccination status, wear a surgical grade or KN95 mask indoors. Doors open 30 minutes before curtain. Latecomers will not be permitted, and there are no refunds or exchanges. The box office is open from noon to 4 p.m. on weekdays and one hour before each performance, and it accepts cash, check, or credit card payments.

Parking is free for shows on Friday through Sunday night. For shows on Tuesday through Thursday night, parking permits are required and can be purchased at dispensers in parking lots on campus.

For more information, contact the box office at 559.278.2216 or universitytheatre@csufresno.edu.

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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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