Ann Arbor Observer cover
Send YCS Students to DC
Ann Arbor Weather:
Sunday October 13, 2019
Follow us: facebook twitter RSS feed
Scene from God of Carnage

God of Carnage

The liberal elite show what they're made of

by Sally Mitani

From the November, 2017 issue

God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza at the Purple Rose, or anywhere really, is a must-see. In this ninety-minute jewel for four actors, Reza dissects with the most excruciating specificity--like a doctor doing laser surgery--the attitudes and assumptions that form the operating system of the bourgeoisie, or, as they're known these days, the liberal elite. Even if you've seen this play in one of its earlier versions, seeing it in the Trump era adds another layer of meaning.

The brilliant paradox that forms the premise of God of Carnage says it all. The curtain opens on two sets of Brooklyn parents drafting a document about a playground fight between their two children. They smugly congratulate themselves for being so reasonable, so highly evolved, that they are able to accomplish this task in a friendly way over coffee and cake instead of in a lawyer's office. Why this document is necessary is never exactly explained, but it seems to have something to do with preventing them from suing each other in the future. But, you might ask, if they're so reasonable and highly evolved, why do they think they need such a document in the first place? The adults will soon be having a playground fight of their own.

If you're a regular theatergoer, in some people's eyes you're ipso facto a member of the liberal elite. Reza writes her plays for us regulars: She wants us to look at these four characters in horror and wonder if we're one of them. They each display their horribleness in a different way, but they also each reveal nuggets of honesty worthy of respect. Here the pretentious, artier-than-thou Veronica is played by Michelle Mountain; Paul Stroili plays her plainspoken husband Michael, who flat-out admits that he loathes being a parent; Kate Thomsen plays the placating Annette, whose body betrays her bottomless anxiety; Rusty Mewha plays Alan, her snake of a husband who eventually and surprisingly shows a ragged vestige of humanity.

It

...continued below...


would seem destiny for Purple Rose to produce this play, since the Rose's patron saint, Jeff Daniels, created the role of Alan on Broadway, but artistic director Guy Sanville has been avoiding it. A few years ago, when the now-defunct Performance Network mounted a good production of it, Sanville told me that after seeing Daniels do it on Broadway, he couldn't imagine any other version coming close. He didn't direct this production--resident artist Lauren Knox did.

God of Carnage has spread around the world like a brushfire since its first performance in Zurich in 2008. Wikipedia lists productions in Santiago, Dubai, Bucharest, Sydney, Dublin, and more. Critics like to debate whether Reza has anything to say or whether she is just a good stylist. I'm saying the former.

God of Carnage runs through December 16.     (end of article)

[Originally published in November, 2017.]

 

 
Bookmark and Share
Print Comment E-mail

You might also like:

Restaurants with Alcohol Served
A clickable zoomable map
Sugar Town
Randy Tessier channels Nancy Sinatra.
James Leonard
For Encore, Less Is More
A record shop takes a smaller spot
Sabine Bickford
From Sauk Trail to Maple Village
X-Golf heads to Ann Arbor
Billie Ochberg
Photo: A Pearl on Main St.
Photo: KayCee Returns
The Find Opens on Chelsea's Middle St.
From eyeglasses to resale
Shelley Daily
Tending the Thurston Nature Center
Neighbors work together to preserve "a neighborhood gem."
Anita LeBlanc
Fuentes y Paz
October 2019 Fake Ad
Jay Forstner
U-M Libraries
One of the finest university art museums in the country, UMMA holds collections representing 150 yea
First Church of Christian Science event
Vicki's Wash and Wear Haircuts