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Joey Wright and Eric BrangetJoey Wright and Eric Branget star in “The Pillowman,” directed by UWindsor staffer Michael K. Potter. Photo by Jen Gurniak.

Play explores relationship between stories and worldview

A struggling writer living in a totalitarian dictatorship takes care of his disabled brother and toils away as an abbatoir worker. One day he’s hauled in for questioning by the police because stories he has written bear a suspicious resemblance to a series of horrific murders.

What follows is a mystery and a puzzle that explores the bonds of family, the debts owed to the forces that shape us, and the moral responsibility of storytellers. Also: it’s a comedy.

Learning specialist Michael K. Potter of the Centre for Teaching and Learning directs The Pillowman for the Post Productions theatre company. He says a creative decision make the unusual play exceptionally powerful.

“During the play you hear seven of Katurian’s stories,” he says. “Two of them are supposed to be acted out on stage, which presented some logistical difficulties. So we wondered whether we could project them as films during the play instead, and that led us to the decision to turn all seven of those stories into short films which are projected for the audience and integrated into the live theatre experience.”

He says the whole undertaking was an awful lot of work — but rewarding for audiences.

“You get these incredible performances right there in front of you. And you also get two live-action short films by Mitchell Branget and five animated short films by Kieran Potter that give you a glimpse into the world inside Katurian’s head, the worlds of his imagination – which are a lot different from the reality of his life in some ways.”

Potter touts the UWindsor connections of this show. Besides his involvement, he notes that the filmmakers are both students, acting grad Eric Branget stars as Katurian, and drama instructor Simon du Toit plays one of the police officers.

Performances continue Dec. 5 to 7 at 8 p.m. in the Shadowbox Theatre, unit 103B, 1501 Howard Ave. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $25 at postproductionswindsor.ca, or at the door.