Monday, March 2, 2009

Stories inside of stories

The part that most intrigued me about Michael MacDonagh's Pillowman, was the fact that everything of importance in the story was relayed through smaller stories inside the play. This was exceptional to see, not only because of the way it related to the main character, Katurian, as an author, but also because it turned out to be the way nearly all the characters really developed and deepened. The plot itself was pushed along by the stories written by Katurian. The killings, as the audience found out, were mimicking the stories that Katurian had written, thus the reason he was brought in for questioning. Two acts of the play, "The Writer and the Writer's Brother" and "The Little Jesus" were narrated by Katurian as if he were reading the story he wrote. The first somewhat told the autobiographical story of Michal and Katurian's childhood as the first was tortured and the other was treated well by their parents. The second story was used to build the suspense and tension of the story, alluding to the horrible murder (though not real) of another small child.

Ariel, one of the brutal police officers, deepens his character through two stories. The first story is his dream of his future. He wants to take care of the children that can't take care of themselves, that way when he is older, he will be adored by children and they will give him their "sweets." This shows the reason he is so brutal and why he has a bigger heart than his partner. His character is deepened even moreso when a joint effort between Tupolski and Katurian lead Ariel's past into light. Ariel was abused by his father, whom he killed, and is thus sworn himself to the protection of children.

Tupolski, the other officer, tells his own version of a story. His story, though mixed and muddled, tells about a deaf, retarded, Chinese boy that is walking on the railroad tracks. A train comes, but the boy cannot hear it. In a high tower, an old man is watchin the kid and for fun, takes a piece of paper to figure out the time and distance in which the train will hit the boy. He finds his answer, folds the paper into a paper plane, and tosses it out the window. Right before the train hits the boy, the boy leaps to catch the paper airplane as the train rushes down the track. Tupolski explains that the old man knew that he would save the kid, just as Tupolski, in his own tower, must save people for murderors. This deepens Tupolski to a semi-righteous chracter, not just a neurotic asshole out to punish anyone who comes into his office.

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