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The Pillowman

Last week, I worked on a production of The Pillowman put on by the Edinburgh University Theatre Company. The Pillowman, written by Martin McDonagh, first premiered in 2003 and won the Olivier Award for Best Play in 2004. The EUTC last produced it in 2009. It is an extremely dark comedy set in a totalitarian police state. The main character, Katurian, is a short story writer who mostly writes stories about children dying in horrible ways. In the play, he is brought into to be interrogated by detectives who are investigating murders that are based on his stories.

Bedlam Theatre is the home of the EUTC and the location of most of their productions. The first thing that you notice about the theater is the beautiful architecture — it’s a converted neo-gothic church built in 1849. The second thing you notice is how cold it is inside. The building isn’t heated and it’s usually colder inside of it than outside. I usually arrive and then put on more clothing, instead of taking off all of my winter outerwear.

I was the sound and video operator for the show, so the first rehearsal I attended was tech rehearsal. We skipped through the script to the various sound, light, and set transition cues. We also rehearsed certain difficult or intricate moments involving the actors, like lighting a fire and shooting a gun. As we moved to these points, we built the cues for those sections. I constructed sound and video cues in a playback program called QLab. The video below is from this rehearsal and it’s interesting to watch the changes in scenery and lighting throughout this rehearsal.

While working on the show, I met many students who attend university here, and I’ve turned out to have unexpected mutual friends with many of them. For example, the sound designer is from the US, and he knows a few people who go to Connecticut College, which is my home school. Another student from Conn studied away here last year and participated in theater. Some of her former cast mates were involved in this production.

In the upcoming weeks, I’ll also be working with the Shakespeare Company on a production of King Lear and then again with the EUTC on a new play later in the semester. I definitely recommend getting involved to other students; I think that many of the connections I make in societies this semester could last for a long time!


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