The Pillowman: Thriller on stage

Actor Jonas David who plays the role of writer Katurian, shares how acting helps him deal with different things

October 14, 2022 04:34 pm | Updated 04:35 pm IST

A scene from ‘The Pilloman’  ‘Jonas David during rehearsals

A scene from ‘The Pilloman’ ‘Jonas David during rehearsals | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

City-based Storyboard Productions and Preksha Theatre Company are set to raise the curtains on its newest play The Pillowman on October 15. Directed by Sandeep Tadi, the 2 hour thirty-minute investigative thriller with four actors is written by renowned playwright Martin McDonagh. Actor Jonas David, playing the central role of a writer, Katurian, believes the play will keep the audience hooked till the end. “It is set in a totalitarian/fictional state where this writer is being investigated by two cops, for a series of gruelling murders of children. He is the prime suspect as the murders bear gruesome similarities with the stories that he writes.”

Jonas, who is also a co-founder of Storyboard, has been attached to The Pillowman ever since he read the script a year ago. The character feels personal and has deeply affected him as he has been a victim of abuse. “From a play perspective, it has been life-changing because of its theme. There is no greater lesson than reality. The challenge was bigger for Sandeep (the director) as it was written for a verbose audience by the playwright.”

Tryst with theatre

Jonas David

Jonas David | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

A commerce graduate from Madras Christian College (MCC) Jonas’ tryst with the stage began two decades ago. In 2002, he played Malvolio in William Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night in Chennai. Later, his job as a process associate brought him to Hyderabad and put the brakes on his theatre dreams. Over the next decade, he worked in three start-ups and as a Montessori teacher before he got enrolled in Samahaara’s theatre workshop in the city, in 2014.

His first full-length play in Hyderabad was with 12 Angry Men, the year he also launched Storyboard Productions with Sandeep. “I belong to the stage,” asserts Jonas who has acted in 20 plays (English and Hindi) in the last seven years.

A scene from ‘Table Manners’

A scene from ‘Table Manners’ | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

A recent physical theatre experience organised by Atul Kumar of The Company Theatre in Kamshet, Pune in February helped him figure out why he became an actor. “It was an immersive experience where actors surrender their fears to the audience. There's a lot of self-hate that exists within me and I realised acting was an amazing way to get out of that and deal with it. Playing different people and discovering them through these roles has been thrilling.”

A scene from the play ‘The Night of January 16th’

A scene from the play ‘The Night of January 16th’ | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

March 2020 left the Storyboard Productions artistes in a bad shape when five shows of their production A StreetCar Named Desire was cancelled due to lockdown. “We lost a lakh due to it.” He has also forayed into movies and will be seen as a Muslim journalist in an upcoming movie.

Storyboard Productions and Preksha Theatre Company’s The Pillowman to be staged on October 15, 16, 21 and 22 at Rangbhoomi Spaces at 7.30 pm onwards; for above 16 years of age; Tickets: 300 at

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