Thursday 14th April to Saturday 16th April, and Wednesday 20th April to Saturday 23rd April 2016
Directed by Pete Woodward
A playground altercation between 11-year-old boys brings together two sets of parents for a meeting to resolve the matter. At first, diplomatic niceties are observed but, as the meeting progresses, and the rum flows, tensions emerge and the gloves come off, leaving the couples with more than just their liberal principles in tatters.
" streamlined anatomy of the human animal… A study in the tension between civilised surface and savage instinct, this play is itself a satisfyingly primitive entertainment."
The New York Times
WINNER OF THE 2009 TONY AWARD
This play was staged at Havant Arts Centre, East Street Havant - Bench Theatre's home since 1977.
|Stage Manager||Verity Finch|
|Assistant SM||Lorraine Stone|
|Lighting Design||Phil Hanley|
|Sound Design||Phil Hanley|
|Lighting Operation||Alan Ward|
|Sound Operation||Marion Ward|
|Set Design||Sue Dawes and Pete Woodward|
|Programme Editor||Derek Callam|
Some of you here to see 'God of Carnage' may be interested to know that we choose which plays to perform in the most democratic way we can devise - in short, potential directors present plays to the company and the company votes. In the case of 'God of Carnage', this differed slightly as I was unable to attend the voting procedure. It was a stroke of genius on my part to ask Julie Wood to present the play on my behalf and I am greatly indebted to her for doing so. I have learnt an important lesson: should I wish to submit any more plays in the near future... I have a plan! This will be the third play by Yasmina Reza performed by the Bench Theatre: 'Art' in 2006 and 'Life x 3' in 2012 being the first two. I was involved in both these productions and found the experience enormously enjoyable. Then, as now, I was immediately attracted by Reza's ability, along with her long time translator Christopher Hampton, to invest seemingly simple and uncomplicated situations with such a vivid portrayal of people attempting to make sense of their lives. The fact that comedy, and even farce, is wittily employed to great effect, is also, to me, extremely engaging. Audiences worldwide have reacted in a variety of ways to her plays. Some, the Americans, find them hilariously funny, the French, view them in a more measured but highly appreciative way. (That may be a sweeping generalisation, but I do believe there is some truth in it). It is undeniably true that 'God of Carnage' is a deeply serious play but it is also littered with laugh out loud moments. This ability to move an audience swiftly from one reaction to another demonstrates the skill of a playwright at the top of her form. I am of course lucky to be working with such a talented cast and crew and extend warm thanks to you all. I hope you, the audience, enjoy the show as much as we have in bringing it to you.
'God of Carnage' is another hugely successful hit from French playwright Yasmina Reza and is the third to be performed by Bench Theatre in the last decade ('Art' 2006 and 'Life x 3' 2012). A 90 minute comically savage dissection of social hypocrisy that masks the symptoms of marital breakdown.
The drama begins with a frosty meeting between two sets of parents to discuss the dental implications following a playground fracas where one 11 year old boy has had his two front teeth knocked out by another 11 year old. The initial pleasantries are soon undermined by acerbic cutting remarks and as the alcohol begins to flow the conversation rapidly degenerates exposing yawning gaps in their own disintegrating marriages. What was once a comfortable sitting room ends up in a total state of carnage!
This talented cast of just four expertly portray Reza's courageous analysis of the decline of bourgeois values. There is fine support from Dan Finch taking on the role of the uncouth Michel Vallon who cruelly released his young daughter's hamster in the city street, but he ends up being on the receiving end of his wife Veronique's venom. His art-loving wife is played by Julie Wood, a moral crusader who gives an impressive performance as the dialogue escalates into an impassioned and emotional outburst. Megan Green represents the assailant's mother Annette Reille, one half of the 'power couple' and is superb as she throws up all over the priceless coffee table art catalogues and ends by hysterically demolishing the vase of tulips! David Penrose gives a masterful rendition of the frenzied lawyer Alain Reille. His cutting remarks and permanent attachment to his mobile phone and all the while avidly devouring the fruit tart drive everyone to distraction, but then his utter dismay at the sudden loss of his mobile phone leaving him utterly bereft!
A highly amusing satire of these four conflicted characters and their underlying sinister tensions.Review
Jill Lawrie, Remotegoat, April 15th 2016