The audience is in for quite a ride with the 2009 Tony Award winning play “God Of Carnage” by prolific French playwright Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton and directed by Rick Lombardo. There is nothing to do but fasten your seat belt because it is going to be a bumpy ride with the air bags popping all over the place. Picture Virginia Wolfe paired with Godzilla Eats Manhattan and you have what plays out in this comedy, which has been translated into 35 languages and performed around the world.
It starts out as civilized repartees between two couples trying to solve a problem in a cultured, enlightened way that their sons have incurred. The offense: an argument that has one boy hitting the other with a stick and knocking out two teeth. This leads the parents into a verbal, physical battle that makes “The War of The Roses” look like a walk in the park. Marriages, morality and sanity are tested while each takes a turn.
Only pros like Benajmin Evett (Alan), Joey Parsons (Annette), Amy Resnick (Veronica) and Bob Sorenson (Michael) could chew scenery and set timing with such perfection and get away with it. The presentation looks hysterically, upsettingly enjoyable to the observer. These actors must need an oxygen fix after each performance with an added adrenaline shot when there is a matinee.
Lombardo gets his actors to come out of their corners fighting no holds barred with a juggler’s timing. He keeps them moving at a jet speed without letting up. He tweaks the scenes here and there so the story becomes one amazing emotional skirmish – taking no prisoners.
The production brings together some of the best in their fields to complete the magic: scenic designer Kent Dorsey, lighting designer David Lee Cuthbert, sound coordinator Brian Jerome Peterson and costume designer Kish Finnegan. A production goes nowhere without these people.
They haven’t designed a ride at the theme parks as fast or curvy as this play so be prepared to be jostled, shaken and tickled for 90 minutes. It will take the place of a couple of workouts at the gym.
Camille Bounds is the Arts and Entertainment Editor for the Western Division of Sunrise Publications.
Where: San Jose Repertory Theatre 101 Paseo de San Antonio, San Jose
Through: April 15
Details: (408) 367-7255 or visit www.sjrep.com