A small and intimate black box theater, the Opal Center was made for small cast plays like God of Carnage, which opens June 16th at 7:30pm. Co-directed by David Work and Jim Curtiss, this comedy is full of quick, biting wit, and misbehaving adults who might just be worse than their children they are trying to discuss. Tickets are $12 and are available via Opal’s website or at the door.
Co-Director David Work was inadvertently introduced to playwright Yazmina Reza by his step-son after he performed in “Art.” “I began researching her works, one of which was “God of Carnage.” Reading through the play, I followed the slow but steady disintegration of the relationships of all four of these parents. Funny and sad, the play clearly illustrates what happens when adults got from amiably fake to miserable honest.” The play is fairly short, one and one half hours, but it is also a one act without an intermission. Work says. “I appreciate the authors’ interest in allowing the disintegration to take its course without any interruptions.”
As the play opens, two 11-year-old boys have confronted each other at a local park. In what must have been a short-lived scuffle, one of the boys knocks out two of the other boy’s teeth with a stick. The play opens with both sets of parents sitting in Veronica and Michael’s living room. Veronica, parent of the boy who lost his teeth, reading a prepared summary of the event to the other parents involved. The boys’ altercation is clearly a McGuffin, since neither boy is present in the play other than references to the event and their subsequent behavior.
As the play proceeds, we learn way too much about each of the characters. Veronica (Nikki Pagniano) works part time in a bookshop and writes books about Africa. Her husband Michael (Dale Flynn) is a wholesale distributor for doorknobs, toilet fixtures and fondue pots. Annette (Kim Fairbairn) is a wealth manager, but we never learn what that might mean. Her husband Alan (Phil Dempsey) is an attorney, currently involved in heading off litigation for “Antril”, a fictitious drug with potential side effects.
Pagniano describes the play; “(God of Carnage) is a riff on every fake cocktail party interaction we are forced to have with people we despise, only in this case, we get the satisfaction of finally saying what we think.”In all, the play runs the emotional gamut from sympathy and congeniality to anger and hate. The play isn’t suitable for children, due to the frequent “f” word expletive. Although it may not sound like it, the play is a comedy, and a very funny one at that.