June 29, 2009

Are You Ready For The Carnage

That was the welcome we got from the usher when we entered the theatre to see God of Carnage. I thought it was amusing at the time, then the play started and literally it was like watching a high speed train wreck which took everyone (in this case, the cast) in it's path down. It's a treatise on how civility frays at it's seams and unravels into wreckage once touchy truths are exposed.

As Lani describe the show her post, the evening starts with 2 couples trying to work through an issue between their sons. Then the seemingly lovely evening turns into havoc. Sensitive nerves touched, issues exposed and husband and wife turn against each other. It's an intense evening at the theatre but the play is also peppered with funny yet sarcastic humor that as an audience member I was flipping from laughter from the hilarity and moments of discomfort. It's as if I was a fly on a wall in this home's living room.

The cast of four composed of Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis, James Gandolfini and Marcia Gay Harden were perfectly casted. They are so tailored for their roles and complement each other's performance. And they're not afraid of going at each other's throats full throttle! I must say though that Marcia Gay Harden's role of Veronica, who's obsessed with having just everything right, is a lot of times the "catalyst" in this play. She and Hope Davis were tremendously funny in their physical comedy. James Gandolfini too was a revelation with his comedic timing while Jeff Daniels was great as the sharky smarmy lawyer he plays.

The set was a simple living room filled with books with the walls and carpet in red. Little did I know when I initially sat down on my seat that the hue was a foreboding sign of what was to ensue. I also loved the inclusion of long pauses of silence in the scenes when a character exposes a truth that hits a nerve. I'm not quite sure if that was from the direction or it was really written in the script but it just adds to the tension an audience member feels. That long pause of silence is even more prominent in the closing scene which left me with a feeling of being empty. Of being stripped. I don't mean that in a bad way but I think I was just experiencing what the characters were feeling after all the truths were exposed. A really intense yet enjoyable evening at the theatre.

Here are some of the photos from the theatre:


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