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

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