4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Savage outside world

God of Carnage at New Village Arts

Cast of God of Carnage
Cast of God of Carnage

Annette Raleigh: “How many parents standing up for their children become infantile themselves?”

The Raleighs and the Novaks meet to solve what seems a minor issue. Not long after these words, their skins thin out. For the next 60 minutes of Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage, they do a Darwinian Devolve.

God of Carnage

It all started on a playground. Annette’s (Kristianne Kurner) in “wealth management,” husband Alan’s (Manny Fernandes) a corporate lawyer joined at the hip to his cell phone. Their 11-year-old son, Benjamin, got smacked by a stick that broke two incisors and injured a nerve.

Eleven-year-old Henry Novak wielded the weapon. His father, Michael (Jeffrey Keith Jones), wholesales household goods; mother Veronica’s (Melssa Fernandes) a writer (a book out soon on the Darfur tragedy).

The parents meet at the Novak’s Cobble Hill home, a gentrified section of Brooklyn, to determine a proper course of action: should Henry apologize? In print? In person? At first the quartet negotiates like heads of state. “Fortunately,” opines Veronica, “there is still such a thing as the art of co-existence.”

As civility dissipates, Alan’s constantly on the phone doing legal damage control for Big Pharm. A new drug, Antril, has people banging into walls. Could be an international crisis. A few calls later, he shouts, “Murray is a dead man in two weeks, us with him.”

A few calls after that, wife Annette finally asserts herself and threatens to demolish the cell phone.

The outside world, the playwright pounds the point home, is savage. But when buttons get pushed and slurs abound, so is the Novaks' living room. Slowed by occasional stops to refuel — espresso, a savory apple/pear clafouti, and demon rum — the quartet goes primitive. Alan and Michael do variations on Hobbsian nihilism (not to mention misogyny and racism), Annette horks undigested clafouti onto Veronica’s rare art books, and “stain-resistant” Veronica labors to shine the light of reason in a Stone Age cave.

Carnage is mostly variations on a single event: “victims and executioners,” as Veronica terms it. But it isn’t just Survivor: The Home Game. Along with revealing the ogres behind the curtain, the playwright sustains interest by having them often change alliances — husband/wife; male/female; predator/prey. And throughout she does a subtle critique of marriage, parenting, values, pretense, and false veneers.

The New Village Arts production avoids most of the subtlety. The design work, in particular, bombards the audience with in-case-you-don’t-get-it explanations. This is an Artistic Concept writ large. The set’s all black and white stripes and geometric designs with empty frames on the wall. The costumes, also black and white stripes and geometric designs, look like they sprang from the set.

Alan’s cell phone rings louder and louder. That it rings at all is irritating enough. It doesn’t need the helping fist of overkill.

During major combat, the lighting turns snot green, background sounds rise — and the rampage gets cartooned. Instead of real people breaking down, with devastating verbal abuse, the Novaks and Raleighs become manipulated puppets in a funhouse farce.

Needless to say, the technical shenanigans detract from otherwise capable performances and the primeval forces they should unleash.

Playing through November 13

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Thank God (and the Irenic) for new all-ages venue

Building Bridges in Clairemont Mesa
Cast of God of Carnage
Cast of God of Carnage

Annette Raleigh: “How many parents standing up for their children become infantile themselves?”

The Raleighs and the Novaks meet to solve what seems a minor issue. Not long after these words, their skins thin out. For the next 60 minutes of Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage, they do a Darwinian Devolve.

God of Carnage

It all started on a playground. Annette’s (Kristianne Kurner) in “wealth management,” husband Alan’s (Manny Fernandes) a corporate lawyer joined at the hip to his cell phone. Their 11-year-old son, Benjamin, got smacked by a stick that broke two incisors and injured a nerve.

Eleven-year-old Henry Novak wielded the weapon. His father, Michael (Jeffrey Keith Jones), wholesales household goods; mother Veronica’s (Melssa Fernandes) a writer (a book out soon on the Darfur tragedy).

The parents meet at the Novak’s Cobble Hill home, a gentrified section of Brooklyn, to determine a proper course of action: should Henry apologize? In print? In person? At first the quartet negotiates like heads of state. “Fortunately,” opines Veronica, “there is still such a thing as the art of co-existence.”

As civility dissipates, Alan’s constantly on the phone doing legal damage control for Big Pharm. A new drug, Antril, has people banging into walls. Could be an international crisis. A few calls later, he shouts, “Murray is a dead man in two weeks, us with him.”

A few calls after that, wife Annette finally asserts herself and threatens to demolish the cell phone.

The outside world, the playwright pounds the point home, is savage. But when buttons get pushed and slurs abound, so is the Novaks' living room. Slowed by occasional stops to refuel — espresso, a savory apple/pear clafouti, and demon rum — the quartet goes primitive. Alan and Michael do variations on Hobbsian nihilism (not to mention misogyny and racism), Annette horks undigested clafouti onto Veronica’s rare art books, and “stain-resistant” Veronica labors to shine the light of reason in a Stone Age cave.

Carnage is mostly variations on a single event: “victims and executioners,” as Veronica terms it. But it isn’t just Survivor: The Home Game. Along with revealing the ogres behind the curtain, the playwright sustains interest by having them often change alliances — husband/wife; male/female; predator/prey. And throughout she does a subtle critique of marriage, parenting, values, pretense, and false veneers.

The New Village Arts production avoids most of the subtlety. The design work, in particular, bombards the audience with in-case-you-don’t-get-it explanations. This is an Artistic Concept writ large. The set’s all black and white stripes and geometric designs with empty frames on the wall. The costumes, also black and white stripes and geometric designs, look like they sprang from the set.

Alan’s cell phone rings louder and louder. That it rings at all is irritating enough. It doesn’t need the helping fist of overkill.

During major combat, the lighting turns snot green, background sounds rise — and the rampage gets cartooned. Instead of real people breaking down, with devastating verbal abuse, the Novaks and Raleighs become manipulated puppets in a funhouse farce.

Needless to say, the technical shenanigans detract from otherwise capable performances and the primeval forces they should unleash.

Playing through November 13

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

2-D transfers of 3-D Rarities

Genres covered include sci-fi, westerns, cartoons, musicals, and an A-Bomb scare film, along with other assorted documentaries.
Next Article

Six-pack reycling hack

80% of PakTech can carriers placed in recycling bins went landfills.
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close