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It begins with a decapitated cat.

Today begins the Station Theatre’s presentation of Martin McDonagh’s comedic experiment in absurd ultra-violence, The Lieutenant of Inishmore. McDonagh, best known for the award-winning The Beauty Queen of Lenane, is perhaps one of our most gifted contemporary playwrights, and one of our most exceedingly dark.

He has famously claimed that he culls the majority of his inspiration from cinema, particularly the stylized genre experiments of Quentin Tarantino. Like that director, McDonagh’s work explores the tenuous and shadowy relationship between violence, sex, and humor. But unlike, Tarantino, McDonough, at his best, portrays a far more chilling brand of violence, one bereft of easy answers, perpetrated for motivations as thin and frustrating as boredom, pride, or to avenge a decapitated cat.

The Lieutenant of Inishmore follows the inarticulate and dull citizens of a small Irish village down just such a twisted spiral of killing and revenge, resulting in the most absurd and sardonic play of McDonagh’s career thus far.

The production, directed by Rick Orr, opens tonight at the Station Theatre, 223 N. Broadway Ave., Urbana. The Lieutenant of Inishmore closes on April 5. All shows begin at 8 p.m.