By Martin McDonagh
Gesher at the
Noga Theatre, Jaffa.
The young anglo-Irish Martin McDonagh, considered the most outstanding playwright of his generation, touches on one of the world's most widespread socio-psychic disorders with his latest play "The Pillowman."
It's a disturbing but gripping tale of parental child abuse involving Katurian, a writer of children's stories interrogated by police in a totalitarian state where morbid child murders resemble the gruesome deaths described in his stories. At the same time Katurian's mentally retarded brother, Michal, is being violently questioned in the next room. His screams punctuate the proceedings. The grim web of events exposed in what follows is psychologically terrifying.
By no means spectacular - Michal Kermenko's set, a stark, sterile grim black and grey prison, relays layers of horror in video projections of children's drawings. Ben bar-Shavit's version of the play however, is highly sophisticated, the translation tight and gripping. Absolutely devoid of sentimentality, the tale is nonetheless heartbreaking, if at times viciously funny.
The sharp, compelling direction is accompanied by four stunning performances. Gilead Kalter is sensitive as the victim of police torture. His brother, the tragically optimistic, soulfully wounded Michal, a battered but resilient creature, is played by Amnon Wolf with deep sympathy. Alexander Sanderovitch gives a quirky, engaging study of Topolski - the senior, self-styled "good cop" contrasting with Miki Leon's Ariel - a younger, less inured "bad cop."
Although more than comfortably drawn out in the first act, and relentlessly macabre, Gesher's "Pillowman" is a highly relevant production that should not be missed.