GOD OF CARNAGE
Playwright Yasmina Reza uses a simple children's scuffle to exacerbate a childish game of warfare. The play evolves around the transformation of authentic characters. The quartet's metamorphosis happens over coffee one afternoon. The dialogue begins with diplomatic formality and then advances to visceral bluntness. The progression is a hilarious deconstruction of human behavior. Under the sharp direction of Rick Snyder, the talented foursome exploit every human emotion for its comedic value. The 'stain resistant' adult, Mary Beth Fisher (Veronica) leads the settlement negotiation with passive aggressive flare. Despite Fisher's exclamation 'I have no sense of humor and I don't have a plan to inquire one,' her multi-level performance is outrageously hilarious. Her husband Keith Kupferer (Michael) is magnificent as a pacing, caged-in...hamster. Red-faced, Kupferer pops the cork off his repressed nature and the humor bubbles up and out. Perking up after puking, Beth Lacke (Annette) is charming in quiet reserve to giggly drunk to raging loon. Lacke's antics are abruptly hysterical with lingering disbelief snickering. Continually on his cell phone, David Pasquesi (Alan) is the cynical, ethically questionable lawyer. As an unapologetic barbarian, Pasquesi delivers zings with wit and honesty. Pasquesi is despicably on target predicting the downfall of parent-kind.
The synergy between the flawed characters is staged perfection. Even during hostile attacks, a small, insignificant gesture or look bonds the spouses in an affectionate backstory. Each character reveals vulnerable glimpses that are relatable to your husband, your sister, yourself. It's this intimate connection that sucks you into the drama AND the comedy. Adding to to absurdity of the decay of societal protocols, the living room set designed by Takeshi Kata is sophisticated elegance. The chaotic interactions result in distinct before and after snapshots of pretend and real life.