July 25, 2014  

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Southern Miss Department of Theatre and Dance Presents “The Pillowman”

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Master of Fine Arts performance students, from left to right: Terry Jordan of Waynesboro, Miss., and Sean Scutchins of Shawnee, Okla., join Sean Boyd, assistant professor of acting and movement as they rehearse a scene from The University of Southern Mississippi Department of Theatre and Dance’s production of “The Pillowman.” (Submitted photo)

A writer is the key suspect in a police investigation about a series of child murders that mirror his short stories in the hit play “The Pillowman,” presented Oct. 21-29 by The University of Southern Mississippi Department of Theatre and Dance.

“It deals a lot with art for art’s sake, about whose responsibility it is whenever someone misinterprets art and uses it for violence,” said Sean Scrutchins, third-year master of fine arts student from Shawnee, Okla. Scrutchins plays Katurian, the writer whose disturbed imagination is fueled by memories of his brother’s abuse at the hands of their parents.

“Do we hold the guardianship accountable for the person who misinterprets art, or do we put that responsibility on the artist himself?”

“The Pillowman” is a 2003 black comedy by Irish playwright Martin McDonagh. In 2004, the play received the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play and was nominated for a Tony Award for Best New Play.

Sean Boyd, assistant professor of acting and movement, plays the cold and uncaring detective Tupolski, the “good cop” in the interrogation. “Thematically, it (The Pillowman) touches on a lot of things like violence and the types of things we face every day,” said Boyd.

“The Pillowman” has been called a shocking, graphic and difficult, yet inspiring, play. The Southern Miss production is for mature audiences only, because it contains strong language and violent content.

The production will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 21, 22, 23, 27, 28 and 29 in the Gilbert F. Hartwig Theatre of the Theatre and Dance Building. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students. Order tickets online at www.southernmisstickets.com or call the Southern Miss Ticket Office at 601.266.5418. To preview a video on this play, visit www.usm.edu/arts.