The Pillowman On Stage at Fresno State

May 3, 2023 | 2023 Articles, Education, Lorie Lewis Ham, Theatre

by Lorie Lewis Ham

The Pillowman opens this weekend at Fresno State presented by Fresno State’s University Theatre. We had the chance recently to chat about the show with the show’s director, J. Daniel Herring, who is also a professor and Department Chair at Fresno State.

KRL: What is The Pillowman about?

J. Daniel: Katurian, a writer of short stories that often depict violence against children, has been arrested by two detectives, Ariel and Tupolski, because some of his stories resemble recent child murders. When he hears that his brother Michal has confessed to the murders and implicated Katurian, he resigns himself to being executed but attempts to save his stories from destruction. The play contains both narrations and reenactments of several of Katurian’s stories, including the autobiographical “The Writer and the Writer’s Brother”, which tells how Katurian developed his disturbed imagination by hearing the sounds of Michal being tortured by their parents.

KRL: Why was this show chosen?

J. Daniel: Martin McDonagh is one of the foremost writers of dark comedy. We feel it is extremely important as a theatre department at a university that we should offer our students a wide range of dramatic literature in terms of genre and performance styles.

KRL: Are there any special challenges to directing this show?

J. Daniel: There are two worlds in this play. The very gritty realistic interrogation room at a police station and the world where the reenactment of murders occurs. Each world requires two distinct visual representations as well as two distinct performance styles.

KRL: What did you like best about directing this show?

J. Daniel: I really enjoyed getting to finesse the humor in this dark comedy as well as creating the tension that is required to keep the audience on the edge of their seats.

KRL: Anything you would like to add?

J. Daniel: If you are a fan of Martin McDonagh’s films The Banshees of Inisherin or Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri then you should see The Pillowman.

Approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes, there will be one 10 minute intermission
May 5 – 6 and May 9 – 13, 2023 @ 7:30pm
May 7, 2023 @ 2:00 p.m.
John Wright Theatre (Speech Arts building)
5201 N. Maple Ave.
Fresno, CA 93740
Fresno State College of Arts and Humanities, Department of Theatre and Dance, University Theatre
$17 – General Admission
$15 – Faculty, Staff, Seniors, Alumni, Military
$10 – All Students
Due to adult language and themes, this production is intended only for mature audiences. No one
under 13 admitted.
Tickets are available for purchase via our website ( or at the University Theatre Box Office, located in the Speech Arts Building, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Fresno State no longer requires masks to be worn indoors, but based on updated guidance from public health experts, the University highly recommends that all students, faculty, and staff, regardless of vaccination status, wear a surgical grade or KN95 mask indoors.

Check out more local entertainment articles in our Arts & Entertainment section. And don’t miss out on Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast where we feature mystery stories read by local actors!

Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and a contributor to various sections, coupling her journalism experience with her connection to the literary and entertainment worlds. Explore Lorie’s mystery writing at Mysteryrat’s Closet. Lorie’s latest mystery novel, One of Us, is set in the Tower District of Fresno and the world of community theatre!<


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