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USD Theatre Presents the Dark Play 'The Pillowman'

Image Pillowman Trevor Hudson (Katurian) on floor and Austin Vetter (Michal) on chair in USD's presentation of "The Pillowman."

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota Theatre Department starts off the spring season with a play that is sure to have audiences talking. Irish playwright Martin McDonaugh, author of The Cripple of Inishmaan and The Lieutenant of Inishmore, has written another play that is provocative and captivating. The Pillowman performs Feb. 18-22 and contains adult themes and content.

The play opens with Katurian (Trevor Hudson), a fiction writer, being interrogated by police officers Tupolski (Walker Iversen) and Ariel (Kristian Asfeldt). Katurian writes short stories, stories that resemble a series of gruesome child murders that have been occurring in town. Katurian denies having any knowledge of the murders, but he admits that his stories are horrific and that it is his responsibility to tell the tales. Not believing his innocence, the officers threaten to hurt Katurian’s mentally disabled brother who they are holding in another cell if the writer does not confess to being the murderer.

What happens next are series of stories being told by Katurian and are acted out in front of us. Where the truth of the stories came from and the impact they have on Katurian and his brother along with society are devastating. The crime scenes are investigated, the murderer is revealed, a confession made, and justice is served. Or is it? Katurian’s fate and his writings seem to challenge the very nature of art its separation from the real, because if art imitates life can life imitate art?

McDonaugh is known for challenging his audiences and never hiding from controversy. His plays question the way we think about society, art, life and humanity.

The Pillowman performs Feb. 18-20 and 22 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 21 at 2 p.m. in the Wayne S. Knutson Theatre of the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts. Tickets -- $15 adults, $12 senior citizen (62+), $10 K-12 and non-USD students with ID, and $5 USD students with ID -- can be purchased in the afternoons (12-5 p.m.) starting Feb. 11 by calling the USD Theatre Box Office at (605) 677-5400 or online at


USD's College of Fine Arts encourages students to pursue their chosen professional field in art, music or theater through their study with nationally recognized faculty who are working professionals. Students learn and grow to be professional fine artists with great job potential anywhere in the country. The college offers opportunities for additional real-world experiences through work with guest artists, study tours abroad and opportunities at the National Music Museum and the University Art Galleries on the Vermillion campus and the Black Hills Playhouse in Custer State Park. The college brings more than 80 guests artists to campus annually to work with students.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News