The Pillowman. Provided

The setting is the aftermath of a series of gruesome child murders that take place in an unnamed totalitarian police state. A writer whose macabre fairy tales bear an eerie resemblance to the recent murders is interrogated by police officers who suspect a connection between the stories and the killings. What follows is a hard-hitting examination of the power, purpose and nature of art.

Falcon Theatre’s third production of its 2017-18 season is Martin McDonagh’s bone-chilling black comedy The Pillowman, opening Jan. 26. British Theatre Guide says the play has “hidden depths that will leave the amateur psychologists in the audience with much food for thought.” Curtain Up calls it “a riveting and very original theatrical nightmare” and “a thrills-and-chills examination of the storyteller’s art.”

The Pillowman is Falcon’s second production of a McDonagh play in three years. The Beauty Queen of Leenane was staged as part of Falcon’s 2015-16 season. Beauty Queen director Ed Cohen returns to direct Pillowman.

Playwright McDonagh has made a name for himself over the past 20 years as a writer of gripping stories that exhibit a dark humor. McDonagh also was screenwriter and director for the recent film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Director Cohen sees McDonagh’s humor as a device to throw the audience off kilter…and off the scent of the trail. McDonagh often leads his audience down a path that ends up in a place that they don’t suspect. “In this case,” Cohen says, “humor is used to keep the audience guessing. Is this real? Or is it an absurdist piece? Is the humor to relieve tension or to heighten the horror?”

The Falcon production features Rory Sheridan as Katurian, Michael Monks as Michal, Joe Hornbaker as Tupolski, and Nathan Tubbs as Ariel.  The Falcon Theatre is located at 636 Monmouth Street in Newport, KY. Performances are at 8 p.m. Jan. 26, 27 and Feb. 1, 2, 3, 8, 9 and 10. Tickets are $22 for Adults and $15 for students (with valid ID). For tickets, go to or call (513) 479-6783. ADVISORY: This play contains graphically violent content.

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