Seattle Repertory Theater
October 1-24, 2010
God of Carnage. The title of the play explains it all. No matter how hard people try to behave civilly something is always bound to set them off. For the Novaks and the Raleighs, it happened to be simply meeting each other.
(L-R) Hans Altwies, Amy Thone, Bhama Roget, and Denis Arndt in God of Carnage. Photo by Keri Kellerman.
God of Carnage (directed by Wilson Milam) is the sophistically humorous play that takes place when Michael (played by Hans Altwies) and Veronica Novak (played by Amy Thone) invite Alan (played by Denis Arndt) and Annette Raleigh (played by Bhama Roget) to their home for a parent meeting regarding a fight between their children. Annette and Alan’s 11-year-old son had hit Michael and Veronica’s son with a stick while they were playing in the neighborhood park. Both parents meet to discuss the fight, but it is apparent that no one is concerned about the brawl and neither want to be in each other’s presence. Everyone acts in a civil manner though; awkwardly polite while sipping espresso and discussing art. Alan, however, who is a workaholic lawyer, doesn’t play along and continuously answers business calls and speaks bluntly. It doesn’t take long for the rest of the characters to join in on their true feelings as they begin to make snarky comments about who’s son was a “snitch” and which boy really started the brawl. Finally, the animalistic nature is released! One argument about their children turns into a huge uproar of marital disputes, an argument regarding the ethical murder of a hamster, and a philosophical quarrel regarding the nature of human emotions and actions.
Written by French playwright Yasmina Reza, this Tony Award winning comedy deserves its award for best play. Reza created an outstanding play that is cold, but hilarious. The key to her comedic talent is that there is no over-exaggeration. She simply bases her characters and script off of true human nature and circumstances, making it something that everyone can relate to.
As for the cast, its pure pleasure watching amazing actors behaving absolutely horrible towards one another. The chemistry between the actors is so well played I had to keep on reminding myself that its just a play and no one is really going to tear each other to pieces (even though things get pretty heated during each debate).
What also made this theatrical masterpiece so creative and well produced is how the play was slightly arranged to be set in Seattle. God of Carnage has been produced by many theaters all over the globe so interestingly, tiny changes are made according to what country or city the play is produced in. While gazing out the window in the Novak home, Alan declares that he can “see the Space Needle” and there are even a few Northwestern terms and Seattle neighborhood names hidden in the dialogue.
God of Carnage is a great opener for the Seattle Repertory Theater this 2010-2011 season. Its wildly entertaining to watch how Reza managed to write parts that ravenous actors can sink their claws into. The play will have you realize that your family might actually be human.