Alley artistic director Gregory Boyd directs the new play at his Texas homestage for a Feb. 1 opening. The run is currently slated through Feb. 26.
The Tony-nominated play — which bears the warning "This play contains scenes and language that some may find disturbing. Not suitable for children or those who may be easily offended." — makes its resident theatre debut at the Alley Theatre's Neuhaus Stage.
Set in an unnamed totalitarian state, The Pillowman follows the story of a writer named Katurian Katurian who is brought in by the police for questioning when plotlines of his stories — which involve disturbingly gruesome tales — begin to resemble real-life murders.
Rick Stear — seen in the Alley's Long Day's Journey Into Night and in Lincoln Center's Twelfth Night — will play the role of Katurian. Alley Theatre veterans Jeffrey Bean (as Michal), David Rainey (Ariel) and John Tyson (Tupolski) fill out the cast.
The design team features Kevin Rigdon (scenic and lighting), Linda Ross (costume) and John Gromada (sound and original music). The Pillowman made its world premiere at London's National Theatre in 2003 and then reached Broadway in 2004. The work won the Olivier Award and Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Foreign Play. The Alley has previously produced the London-born writer's The Beauty Queen of Leenane.
Other McDonagh works include A Skull in Connemara and The Lonesome West (which with Beauty Queen form the Connemara trilogy) as well as The Lieutenant of Inishmore appearing Off-Broadway in February.
The Alley Theatre season will continue with R.C. Sherriff's Journey's End (Feb. 24-March 19), Austin Pendleton's Orson's Shadow (March 31-April 30), Theatre de la Jeune Lune's production of The Miser (April 7-30) and Agatha Christie's Witness for the Prosecution (May 12-June 4).
Tickets to The Pillowman at the Alley Theatre, 615 Texas Ave. in Houston, TX, can be purchased by phone at (713) 228-8421 or on the web at www.alleytheatre.org .