The Pillowman


Writers: Martin McDonagh


Show Information

Number of Acts
First Produced
Dark Comedy, Horror
Simple/No Set, Unit/Single Set
Time & Place
an interrogation room in an unnamed totalitarian state
Cast Size
Ideal for
professional theatre, male lead, ensemble, College/University, Mature Audiences, Mostly Male Cast, Small Cast, Star Vehicle Male
Casting Notes
Mostly male cast
Includes adult, child characters


In an interrogation room in an unnamed totalitarian dictatorship, Katurian Katurian, a writer, is being interrogated by two detectives. Next door, Katurian’s mentally disabled brother Michal waits. The detectives want to know why Katurian’s stories feature gruesome plots about child murder and torture, and in particular, why they seem to mirror a string of recent child murders in the area. This brutal dark comedy from Martin McDonagh, the master of the horror-comedy, poses unanswerable questions: Can stories hold the power to cause atrocities? Where is the line between truth and fairy tale? Is a life of horror worth living at all? Drawing on inspiration as diverse as Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Kafka, and Antonin Artaud, The Pillowman is a dark, twisty, and utterly unforgettable masterpiece from one of Ireland’s most treasured writers.

Lead Characters

The Pillowman guide sections