The University Players’ latest offering, Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage, is an intense, emotional roller coaster. Brimming with intelligent dialogue which is punctuated with the most delightfully awkward silences imaginable, God of Carnage examines violence not only within our society, but on a global level.
God of Carnage is powerfully performed by four actors: Conor Murphy and Rebecca Lashmar play Michael and Veronica Novak, whose son has had two teeth damaged as the result of being hit with a stick by another boy on the playground. That boy’s parents Annette and Alan, played by Shannon Pitre and Sean Sennett, meet with the Novaks to try and settle the matter amongst the adults. What starts as heated discussion about parenting and childhood fights soon escalates into personal matters of marriage and career, leaving all four adults reeling from the evening.
Conor Murphy’s Michael is frustratingly ineffectual for most of the evening, until he finally blows up and lets off more steam than anyone bargained for after a drink or two. He is beautifully juxtaposed by Rebecca Lashmar’s Veronica, who is strong and concise right from the beginning; she is neither afraid of conflict nor willing to back down until she gets justice for her son. Sean Sennett’s Alan is constantly distracted by matters from the office, making him seem less connected than he is to his family. Whilst Shannon Pitre’s Annette seems all to concerned with what’s going on, and yet wants to avoid conflict at all costs and come to a peaceful resolution. All four actors brilliantly and poignantly portray these commonly seen characteristics of our society: the opinionated one, the crusader, the pacifist, and the bureaucrat. Their characters push them to the limits of human emotion, resulting in their strong personalities violently clashing, creating the carnage the play is named for.
The set is a perfect representation of that carnage; items, all in white, stretch from floor to ceiling, haphazard and disheveled. Books and papers lie in piles on the floor. Only the carpet and the tulips are a vivid red. It’s a brilliant backdrop for such a highly intense play. When the set becomes illuminated, showing the passing of a very long evening for the characters, you get this eerie sense that something is just ready to burst out of the chaos. The costume design is fascinating, using pieces indicative of fashions throughout history to show the timelessness of the struggle these four characters are facing. But they’re also so suited to the characters personalities: Veronica in an African print, Micheal in a bland cardigan but with a printed vest underneath, Alan a smart grey suit and Annette a bright springy dress. Their costumes perfectly encapsulate not only these characters, but the many people like them who have come before.
You absolutely do not want to miss this show. Performed at the Hatch Studio Theatre, and with limited seating, get your tickets while you can! It runs tonight through to Sunday afternoon.
You can purchase tickets at the door or online through: https://tix5.centerstageticketing.com/sites/windsor6/?fbclid=IwAR2KpO0sGVDQ7iv24k6WqBwOGM57QkXsBGfr1v1XKS14Nih1Xez2tCcdlnY