Customer Reviews: God of Carnage - Acting Edition
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on February 9, 2011
"[Are] we interested in anything but ourselves? Of course we'd all like to believe in the possibility of improvement", says poor Alain, one of the four characters in Yasmina Reza's play "The god of carnage". He may be naïve for a single moment saying this, but deep down he - and probably the French dramatist - do not believe in the possibility of improving the human being.

Alain, his wife Annette, and the couple Véronique and Michel, are clear example of the well meant bourgeoisies whose blindness do not allow to see beyond their belly tummy. The answer to Alain first question is: not. No, they - and for extension we - are not interested in anything but themselves. The excuse for the gathering is each couple's child behavior - one of them has hurt the other with a stick. This is said in the first lines of the play, but what arises after a couple of minutes is the inherent nastiness that inhabits the inside of each of us.

Reza's strong dialogues - translated with pitch perfection by Christopher Hampton - exposes above all her characters' moral fragilities. They are like a quartet playing a game whose winner is the one who best betrays his/her companions. For that they pair up with somebody else from the other couple, but, in the end, each is playing for on his/her own.

What is it to be a parent? What is it to be half of a married couple? Are there rules for one live in society? How to fulfill other people's expectations towards us? Or, as a matter of fact, should we? There is a lot of irony in "The god of carnage" because we behave as others expect us to, and rarely show our true colors. They criticize the children's behavior and are hoped to teach them how to behave. But how can they do that when they themselves behave worse?
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VINE VOICEon September 1, 2013
The God of Carnage was recently filmed by Roman Polanswki in a state of the art set outside of Paris with a cast of four oscar winning actors. The film follows Hamptom's script verbatim and Hamptom's translation of Reza's play is as brilliant as the three preceeding it.

What began as a typical, almost natural scrape between two ytoung boys in a pllayground has tuirned into an uncomfortable meeting between two sets of parents, both yuppies, both certain that this is an issue that defines themselves and both unaware that their boys have likely forgotten the issue entirely. This is a play that gives us the oportunity to study culture and the ways in which our culture has changed. The behavior of these four adults is far more disgistiung than the behavior of the boys who brought them together. As the play prgresses- without interval- each character is stripped of his or her armolur, truths come out, allegiences change and even teams change, starting as couple against coupole and then turning to gender against gender.

This is a play that will be seem again and again, in repertoire, on Broadway and the West End in many summer stocks and equity houses and even in many community theatres. It doesn;t belong in the high school or college unless fore the sake of study. This is a script that is easily missed and I wouldn;t be surprised if many read it, watch it or listen to it and gloss over the details, the meaning and the brilliance.

If you enjoy studying drama, this is a script well worth reading.
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on February 1, 2014
I saw this play in NYC with original cast and it was brilliant .I bought it with the intention of directing this for our community theater and we had a blast doing it. It is not an easy play for amateurs because they are practically over one hour on a stage and its a lot of dialogs to memorize, but it's worth it if the casting is done well.
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Born in 1960, Yasmina Reza is perhaps best known for her wickedly funny ART, a satire on the intellectual pretensions of both the art world and its detractors. Produced in New York in 2009, GOD OF CARNAGE is similar in that raises the question of how civilized we supposedly civilized westerners are and then bites the head off every possible response. It is sharp and clever and interesting stuff. It is also, at least in my opinion, in the theatrical minor leagues--not because of the author's skill, but because of the short span of time she allows herself in which to set up the premise, develop the characters, and send them flying at each other.

The play concerns two married couples. Alan and Annette are well-to-do, upper-middle-class rather than rich, with Alan owning and managing a home supply-type store. Michael and Veronica are flatly rich, Michael an attorney who represents drug manufacturers and Vernonica a self-styled author who works part time in a specialty book store. They might easily have met at a cocktail party, or a book signing, or a similar venue, but it is their sons who have bought them together. Both are boys, both are about eleven years old, and they recently had a playground scuffle in which Alan and Annette's son took a stick and hit Michael and Veronica's son across the face, with a cut lip and two broken teeth the result.

The two couples have met at Michael and Veronica's home to discuss what should be done. Both Alan and Annette feel their son should take responsibility for his act; Michael and Veronica are slightly more diffident, but they too feel the boys should meet and an apology should be given. Everything is very friendly, all four give the impression of head-shaking bemusement, and within minutes the covert stabs begin. At first these center on the children and the degree of guilt involved, but with a little alcohol, and one too many interruptions from Michael's cell phone, and the discovery that Veronica recently released her daughter's hamster to a certain death, all hell breaks loose.

At first it seems the couples will unite against each other, but in short order the alliances begin to shift back and forth. It becomes apparent that neither marriage is particularly happy. After a certain point, it transpires that Alan and Veronica have background on Africa--Alan, who has been there and see it for himself, Veronica, who has studied it extensively for a book project. Suddenly the battle transforms from "whose child" to "whose civilization," and the play cumulates in a riot of accusations and tulip tossing.

If this sounds good--it is, but the trouble with it is that it has a run time of ninety minutes. It is rather difficult to accept the notion that these four people could manage to make such a rapid leap from cheerful and friendly to drunken and vicious within the first half hour of the play, still more difficult to accept that they could become so barbed without Alan and Annette simply solving the problem by walking out. But what most hurts the play is the fact that Reza crams too much into her self-imposed time. As one issue gives way to another, we simply don't have the time to see, to understand, and the resulting play feels as superficially intellectual as her own characters. It is a pity.

Gary Taylor
In Memory of Roscoe
Faithful Companion, 1999-2011
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on September 2, 2013
So glad this came right away as I was able to use it for a staged reading of the show. If you know how physical show is, you realize that having a convenient little book to use for a script helped immensely!
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on October 3, 2013
If you are looking for a 4 handed play which may be easy to stage, only one set and no interval, this could be it. Terrific dialogue as a civilised and courteous meeting between two sets of parents whose sons had a fight slowly disintigrates into mayhem. Who are the juveniles now?

Main staging problem is when one of the cast has to projectile vomit on stage! Get your gizmo mister thinking for this one.
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on August 16, 2011
This is full of fun and silliness, fast quipped dialogue and a few serious moments. It is not a play to sink anything into but it is enjoyable and an audience will have a good time. Light is always welcome.
Linda Loveland Reid, author of Touch of Magenta.
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on September 26, 2013
I read this play for an assignment for school. I had to read the play and watch the play and write about it. It was totally worth it! Definitely buy this play!
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on August 8, 2012
Thank you very much for the script! It came really fast, excellent condition, of course, nice paper (not cheap and yellow, but good, thick and white), nice bond.
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on June 29, 2011
I really enjoyed this play, but was somewhat left at a loss with the ending...I do recommend this reading and loved the images and sense of humor in it!
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