Controversial art has always faced the threat of censorship, whether it’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin or the video of an ant-covered Christ that was yanked from the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery last year.
Playwright Martin McDonagh makes the case that artistic freedom always trumps the potential for offending someone in The Pillowman, opening at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, February 3 at Desert Stages Theatre’s Actor’s Café. “It has a beautiful message, but it’s very in-your-face,” says director Janis Webb.
The show follows the interrogation of Katurian, a writer of horrific tales about child murder, and his disturbed brother. Though scenes including one where electric shocks are delivered via a battery are intense, Webb says there are a few moments of levity in the script that will help break the tension. “No one could stand two hours of intense torture and graphic murder without some humor,” she quips.