By LINDSEY BROWN
Does anyone ever truly grow up? Does anyone ever fully mature? People are a mystery, and when they are pushed to their limits, they act like children sometimes. That is exactly what happens in Yasmina Reza’s “God of Carnage,” the latest UMW Theatre production that premiered at Klein Theatre last Tuesday. When the parents of two boys that got into a fight meet to figure out what to do next, things get a little hairy.
The stage is set with a tasteful living room filled with modern furniture and pieces of African art on a wall behind the furniture. The scene begins with the parents of the boys convening. Michael and Veronica are the parents of Benjamin, the boy who got injured from the fight and they host the meeting in their house. Alan and Annette are parents of Henry, the boy who beat up Benjamin, and broke two of his teeth. They discuss how to punish the boys, who tattled on who, and if the boys should meet and apologize.
Alan (played by Jacob Dodges), is a lawyer and he receives many calls on his cell phone throughout the meeting. Annette (played by Olivia Whicheloe), tries to get her husband to be present for the meeting, and he continues to ignore her. Veronica (played by Lydia Hundley) quickly gets fed up with how the conversation unfolds, while her husband, Michael (played by Neal Gallini-Burdick) tries to keep the peace, and make sure the conversation does not go south. The juxtaposition of four adults with respectable careers, that act like children when they deal with conflict, gives the play an obvious comedic feel, but also a pondering thought for the audience.
As the conversation escalates, true colors are shown from the characters. Limits are pushed, harsh words are said, possessions are ruined, tears are shed, and all while adding alcohol to the mix. This play is a riot in itself, and seeing how unhinged people become from the strains of life, gives the audience a sense that they are not alone in their struggles. With no intermission, the audience gets a full-on laugh fest of the true problems in marriage and relationships in general.
As the truth comes out about the problems in both marriages, the characters start to realize that they are the reason their children fought. Michael’s character is the one that changes the most out of them all. In the beginning of the show, he seems like a level-headed guy. By the end of the show, he seems to be the most unhinged. While the comedy was there, the awkward silences were a bit much at times, and they seemed to have the audience squirming in their seats.
Each actor did a great job portraying the immaturity and the development of the characters through their issues. They seemed to enjoy showing the real sides of people when they are pushed far enough. Julie Hodge’s set design was impressive and gave the set its own character. Gregg Stull’s direction was spot on in displaying the way people act when put under awkward situations, and that children can be just like their parents. The detailed set, paired with the dedicated acting, was yet another wonderful production from the UMW Theatre department.
The show runs from Feb. 14 to Feb. 24 in Klein Theatre.