When a child hurts another child, it’s bad. No doubt about that. But to what extent can kids be responsible for their immature actions? And to what extent should their parents be involved to solve their issues?
“God of Carnage” is a comedy that explores those questions in greater depth. This question starts before the play takes place, when two 11-year old kids, Benjamin Raleigh and Henry Novak, engage in a fight where Benjamin hurts Henry, to the extent that he breaks some of his teeth and requires medical attention. After this incident, both kids’ parents decide to meet, in order to settle the issue, soften tensions, and decide for a course of action.
The meeting takes place at the Novak residence the day after the incident. Henry’s parents, Michael (Oliver Becker) and Veronica (Shauna Black) have over Benjamin Raleigh’s parents, Alan (John Cassini) and Annette (Vickie Papavs). At first, the tone of the meeting is on a very political and shallow level. Nevertheless, as the conversation and exchange of ideas progresses, the situation starts becoming more openly asperous and confrontational.
As tension escalates between the couples, it becomes more evident that their differences are well beyond the mere fight between their children that originated their meeting in the first place. In a frankly hilarious succession of events, all four characters start to exhibit gradually behaviours that reveal their real selves, as well as personal and couple issues that transforms the original conversation into an open 4-fronted confrontation on the topics of ethics, self esteem, social worth, psychology, and human morality. As the play evolves, the characters adopt more openly impolite behaviours, revealing their true nature and adding more and more comical elements to the storyline.
“God of Carnage” runs for 75 uninterrupted minutes, which nevertheless don’t feel like a long time at all. On the opposite, they pass in a rather enjoyable fashion. The play thrives in keeping its audience continuously entertained during its run time, without ever falling in any dull or mellow moments. This is certainly aided by the fact that the play requires no changes of scenarios nor costumes. It is indeed a very funny play, highly recommended to check out.
“God of Carnage” is a co-production of Vancouver Civic Theatres and the Manitoba Theatre Company. It is performed at at the Vancouver Playhouse (600 Hamilton Street) from April 14 to May 5, 2012.