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In Bruges and not only

“The Pillowman”, SFUMATO, Sofia, Bulgaria

In Bruges I liked very very much. I was funny, entertaining and most importantly very natural looking, The action went so smoothly, I really believed this kind of story could happen everywhere, even in fockin’ Bruges.
But to state the obvious merits of the movie is not the intent in this entry. This is about Martin McDonagh, the writer and director of that piece, and also the playwriter ot “The Pillowman“.

I saw the stageplay in Sofia in 2005, performed by the visiting Drama Theatre of Varna, in the “SFUMATO” experimental theatre lab. Whether it was because of the adaptation and directing of the excessively talented Yavor Gardev, combined with the stage set by Nikola Toromanov, this play grabbed me into the story, shaken me, and than spit me out without notice.

The story is the interrogation of a writer in a totalitarian state, because the gruesome content of his short stories are copied to a number of child-murders that are happening in his town. It is not a story of good and bad, there is no good and bad cop, no good and bad brother. It is somehow real, naked, reminding me again that being a monster leads nowhere but to create more monsters.

The environment was very important too – the act is in police room “aquarium”, and the public is situated around it, to watch through the observation windows. Somehow sterile, white shirts and polished shoes, exactly as sterile as the souls of many people are.

“…The father, as we have established, treats the little girl badly, and one day the girl gets some apples and carves some little men out of these apples, all little fingers, little eyes, little toes, and she gives them to her father but she says to him they’re not to be eaten, they’re to be kept as a memento of when his only little daughter was young, and naturally the pig of a father swallows a bunch of these applemen whole, just to spite her, and they have razor blades in them, and he dies in agony…”

For me, this play was just brilliant. I saw afterwards lots of critiques, which I am obviously not going to comment, as I lack formal theatre and acting background. Still, I am confident enough to say, the Bulgarian team did an amazing job on the performance here. It stunned me, nailed me on the seat and I still can feel the emotions from after the end of the play. That is the important thing.

Some videos are available here, although this should be seen on stage. I am still trying to find the play performing in Switzerland or Germany. If you have any information, please let me know.