The Luxembourg Chronicle got the opportunity to sit in on the dress rehearsal of the New World Theatre Club (NWTC)'s production of the award-winning play The Pillowman at the Mierscher Kulturhas (in Mersch) on Tuesday evening.

Opening with foul-mouthed policeman Ariel (Mike West) and his colleague Tupolski (John Evans) interrogating prisoner Katurian (Eymeric d'Hérouel), the play can be viewed as a criticism of totalitarianism as well as human aggression and cruelty, in a literary context of a disturbed imagination.

With a minimalistic set ideally suited to the stark context, with the brown and beige colours set off against a background of blackness enhanced by subtle lighting, the characters are positioned up close to the seating; the clear diction ensures all lines are perfectly audible and allows one's mind to explore the dark corners of our and the writer's imagination.

Heavy on dialogue, and littered with strong language and both physical and psychological intimidation, the opening scene could be summed up by the line "a puzzle without a solution". What is the backgound and the lead-up to the interrogation which makes the mind explore a series of fantasies? The murder of three childen...

The lighting is then used to superb effect to change scenes, in which Katurian tells his dark and twisted stories, then, in Act 2, returning to the scene of the interrogation in which Katurian's brother, Michal (Martin Campion), asks for Katurian to tell him the story of The Pillowman... During this scene the characters trade places in flashbacks to their childhood and up to the current time, with warped logic leading to interesting revelations, during which they try to change the outcome by re-writing the endings of Katurian's dark, morbid and perverted stories.

Just when you think it is all over, the interval arrives, with just a short 3rd act to follow in which Katurian continues to relate his stories, which become autobiographical, before the scene switches back to the interrogation room for a further series of stories, not all bleak though. 

Far from a bundle of laughs, The Pillowman does have its comic moments but is essentially a heavy but intellectual play with superb dialogue and great acting. Well worth seeing.

Written by Martin McDonagh and directed by Gav Guilfoyle, The Pillowman is being performed at the Mierscher Kulturhas from Wednesday 5 October to Saturday 8 October at 20:00 each evening, and at 17:00 on Sunday 9 October. Beforehand (at 19:45) the audience is treated to an introduction/explanation of the play. For tickets (€20; members €17; students €10), see or tel: 470895-1. For further information, see