Tuesday, March 23, 2010

God of Carnage

Tonight, I saw God of Carnage, the Tony Award-winning Broadway production.  The cast featured Janet McTeer, Jeff Daniels, Dylan Baker and Lucy Liu and was fantastic.

The play opens and already, the audience wants to know: how long until these characters lose it?  Everyone seems so civil at first, except not.  And then at a pivotal moment (courtesy of Ms. Liu's character Annette) and after that all bets are off.

This play is a great example of plot structure at work.  The first section is restrained, though we know it's only a matter of time before these characters snap.  Then there's the second section, when the civility quickly unravels.  Finally, we get the last segment, where everyone--the characters and even the audience--is gasping for air, like kid retreating after a playground brawl.

One of the other elements I much enjoyed was how the writer (Yasmina Reza) doesn't feel the need to explain every detail.  Annette's perpetual nausea, Michael's refusal to let Veronica have a drink.  The story could have been heavy-handed and explained all these moments, but Reza holds back, and I think the play is stronger for it.

Overall, a great night out and a fabulous performance.

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