God of Carnage (originally Le Dieu du carnage) is a play by Yasmina Reza. It is about two pairs of parents, one of whose children has hurt the other at a public park, who meet to discuss the matter in a civilized manner. However, as the evening goes on, the parents become increasingly childish, resulting in the evening devolving into chaos. The play was a success in its original language, French, and has been equally acclaimed in its other English-translated productions in both London and New York. Before the play begins, two 11-year-old children, Ferdinand Reille and Bruno Vallon (Benjamin and Henry in the Broadway production), get involved in argument because Bruno refuses to let Ferdinand join his ‘gang’. Ferdinand knocks out two of Bruno’s teeth with a stick. That night, the parents of both children meet to discuss the matter. Ferdinand’s father, Alain (Alan in the Broadway production), is a lawyer who is never off his mobile phone. Ferdinand’s mother, Annette is in “wealth management” (her husband’s wealth, to be precise), and consistently wears good shoes. Bruno’s father, Michel (Michael in the Broadway production), is a self-made wholesaler with an unwell mother. Michel’s wife, Véronique (Veronica in the Broadway production), is writing a book about Darfur. As the evening goes on, the meeting degenerates into the four getting into irrational arguments, and their discussion falls into the loaded topics of misogyny, racial prejudice and homophobia. One of the central dramatic moments of the play occurs when Annette vomits onstage, all over the coffee table and books
Yasmina Reza (born 1 May 1959 or 1960 in Paris) is a French playwright, actress, novelist and screenwriter best known for her plays ‘Art’ and God of Carnage.
Ann: Stephanie Lemmy
Veronica: Lynn Slinger
Michael : Peter Burkey
Review Garth Jones (CTG)
The portrayal of character was sound, giving truth and power to the feelings they revealed. The production introduced movement, especially Alan and his mobile, to enliven the stage picture despite the need to be sitting. There was some good stage business. In general, the comedy was well delivered in many cases, especially the refilling of the whisky glass. The action was controlled but climaxes, such as the vomiting or the bad language, were sufficiently theatrical to be effective, and there was necessary energy in the later parts.
The sick episode was lively in build up and movement and graphic in execution. Alan’s suit certainly “definitely copped it”
This was a very worthwhile choice, introducing the village audience to a challenging and original newly released play in which there is a range of emotions, comedy and the exploration of human behaviour. The actors’ judgement and range, both in technique and in understanding were stretched across the spectrum of tears to laughter and in general this team were up to the task.
With a localised and slightly edited script, the director was able to share a clear and considered approach to the play’s complexities.
The endeavour and character work of all the cast created a convincing and developing sense of erupting feelings and they supported one another with clear interaction, especially in scenes with drinking or discussion about the hamster or the God of Carnage. All of this resulted from a well thought out direction, with an awareness of climax such as the vomiting scene.
All credit to Moulton Drama Group for choosing to take on this challenging new play and sharing its experiences so clearly with the audience.