THE PILLOWMAN at Berkeley Rep


I first read this play flying back from a trip to London. I’d bought the script at the National Theatre, having just missed the production, and was riveted on the flight home. Brilliantly written, amazingly structured, dark, witty, scary, awesome. I immediately passed it on to all my friends. When I saw it was coming to BRT—directed by Les Waters, no less—I was super-psyched. Having seen it last night, may I just say that I agree with the rave reviews, the sell-out crowds, Cheshire Dave’s assessment: this is a freaking great play. Two humble suggestions:

(1) Don’t read it before you go. There are some shocking moments; better to just experience them rather than wonder how they’ll be pulled off. Also, you won’t have to spend the first minute of the show adjusting to the fact that the voices aren’t all British, which is what I’d expected from having read the play before seeing it.

(2) Stay to the end! This is a dark and disturbing play (okay, not to me; I find it dark and delicious, but I’m a sick bastard and don’t want to be responsible for upsetting anyone’s delicate sensibilities) and one or two people didn’t come back after intermission—but come on! You need to see the whole piece to understand why the violence is there.

This is a genius production, with great direction, sound, sets, everything. And the night I went was also Night Out, which meant I got to drink beer, eat food and talk to the actors afterward. A long but very fun night.