"God of Carnage" Throws Etiquette out the Window
“God of Carnage” is an interesting little comedy about two couples meeting to discuss the schoolyard altercation between their two 11-year old sons. Rhonda Clark directs “God of Carnage” at Carpenter Square Theatre through September 29, 2012 with a combination of wit and sensitivity creating a very humorous foundation. Alan and Annette Raleigh, parents of ‘the son wielding the stick’ visit the home of Michael and Veronica Novak the parents of the ‘son without his teeth’ to resolve the altercation. As the evening progresses, the two couples explore a great many additional issues to the primary one at hand. They often shift polarities, with the women pitted against the men in some cases, and the couples pitted against each other. As the evening continues and the rum runs they laugh, cry and argue passionately over the most ridiculous and trivial subjects learning surprising things about each other, themselves and life in general.
Mike Waugh is Michael Novak, a prosperous salesman of household goods. His wife, Veronica Novak is played by Lilli Bassett, a writer and housewife who is studying Africa. Alan Raleigh is Chad Alan Baker and Annette Raleigh is played by Mona Campbell. The four actors have mastered believably long marriages that allow the give and take a realistic sense. The characters are completely natural in mannerisms, affections, affectations and sincerity.
A few difficult feats are played nicely, specifically as Campbell’s character, Annette becomes ill. She manages to do so realistically, with the only give-away is that her face does not actually go green. Her husband, an obnoxious cell phone user and insincere lawyer is well played by Baker as he dominates the entire meeting. A meeting which morphs into a party and the while the two couples are on a slippery slope, the audience is on a roller coaster.
Costumes designed by the Director are appropriate and look comfortable for the actors. The set is very interesting. Caleb Schnackenberg and Rhonda Clark put together a very nice set showcasing Veronica Novak’s interest in Africa. Chad Alan Baker also assisted with properties. Carpenter Square’s Lobby Artist clearly contributed a great deal to the overall ambience of the set, as much of the art work adorning the walls at the home of the Novak’s is an extension of the lobby art by Albert Bostick. The lobby display is very exciting for this show, and certainly helps motivating Bassett’s development of her character.
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