“The best theatre is meant to be overwhelming.”
“In its proper and correct form, theatre dies a slow death,” explained Derek Sitter, owner of Volcanic Theatrepub and the lead in his most recent production, The Pillowman, which will be having a reprise show on Saturday, November 29.
The Pillowman, a 2003 play written by Martin McDonough, tells the story of Katurian Katurian Katurian (“my parents were funny people,” he explains in the play), a writer and, as a result of his writings, an accused criminal.
Just as Katurian’s stories are both shocking and relevant enough to land him in the interrogation room, Sitter’s theatre philosophy, that “if its devastating its striking,” causes audiences to leave the Volcanic in a shell-shocked state of awe and contemplation.
Although Sitter’s chosen form of art (theatre) differs from Katurian’s (writing), both Derek and the character he plays believe in the power of art to ask questions, challenge people to think, and create raw experiences in a world increasingly flooded by inauthenticity.
Indeed, it is partly this quest for authenticity that brought Sitter from his acting career in Los Angeles to settling with his wife and daughter here in Bend. Although the move from LA to Bend has expectedly been a change of pace, Sitter has, himself, changed the pace of the art scene in this town. Not only does Volcanic theatrepub produce expert plays, but most Bendites first think of it as a concert venue.
The multi-functioning character of Volcanic Theatrepub is, indeed, quite intentional. The versatility of Volcanic Theatrepub as a venue for concerts, theatre, movies, fundraisers, trivia, and more gives it the ability to be able to make enough money to stay open regardless of the success of just one of these dimensions. However, in terms of The Pillowman, Volcanic hasn’t had any problem making enough sales to stay afloat. In fact, due to the popularity of the production, it’ll be coming back for a reprise on November 29th. “Pillowman is a masterpiece of a work. One of the proudest achievements of Volcanic,” explained Sitter. If you didn’t get the chance to see it its first time around, make sure to spend the best ten dollars of your weekend on this gem of a theatrical production.