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The God of Carnage: A Play (Ff Plays) Paperback – April 28, 2009

3.9 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Reza holds the mirror up to bourgeois hypocrisy withthe savage indignation of a born satirist", Guardian. "A triumph! Brilliantly translated by Christopher Hampton", Daily Express.

About the Author

Yasmina Reza is a French playwright and novelist whose works have all been multi-award-winning, critical, and popular international successes. Her plays Conversations After a Burial, The Passage of Winter, ‘Art', The Unexpected Man, Life x 3, and A Spanish Play have been produced worldwide and translated into thirty-five languages. L'aube le soir ou la nuit (Dawn Dusk or Night), her memoir about a year with Nicolas Sarkozy, was an enormous success in France and was released in the United States last year.

Christopher Hampton's work for the theater and cinema includes The Philanthropist, Savages, Tales from Hollywood, translations from Ibsen, Moliere, and Chekhov, and the screenplays Dangerous Liaisons, The Quiet American, and Atonement.

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Product Details

  • Series: Ff Plays
  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Main edition (April 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571242588
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571242580
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.3 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John F. Rooney VINE VOICE on May 26, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As I write this (May 26, 2009), "The God of Carnage" by Yasmina Reza is a huge hit on Broadway and has numerous Tony nominations. As in "Life X 3" the dramatist has assembled four people in a room, two couples Veronique and Michel Vallon paired against Alain and Annette Reille. The Reille son Ferdinand has struck eleven-year-old Bruno Vallon with a stick and knocked out two of the boy's teeth.
Two couples arguing over a children's playground fight? No, that would be too easy for Reza. It's a contest that drags in the state of the two marriages, the attributes and characters of all four adults. It becomes a war of wills, probing the fabric of their lives and lies.
It's fun to watch these four people destroying themselves and each other as battle lines are drawn and redrawn. The insults they throw at each other are priceless. Loyalty to one's spouse becomes a disposable commodity. Spouses turn on spouses; new alliances are formed and dissolved. Vomit plays a role in the farce so be prepared. There are some very funny lines. Michel says, "Puking seems to have perked you up."
Both men show off their macho credentials by boasting about being gang members when they were kids. Bruno is accused of being a grass (informer). Michel becomes a "murderer" because he has gotten rid of the family's pet hamster, Nibbles, on the street. All of them are self-indulgent yuppies who easily get off the subject of the kids and into their yuppyish issues. Alain, a lawyer, is constantly talking on his cell phone until someone puts it out of commission.
It's a very clever, focused play, full of laughs. The play owes something to Absurdist traditions. The dialogue at times is inane and absurdist, ridiculous. The way the trouble intensifies is like the proliferation of chairs in Ionesco's famous play.
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I was ecstatic to be able to see a performance of "The God Of Carnage" on my first trip to New York last fall having previously had the privilege of acting in an amateur production of 'Art'. As soon as I got home I sought out a copy to own. It is a wonderful work that captures the breakdown of 'political correctness' between two couples attempting to resolve a schoolyard conflict between their respective sons.

Top marks!
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I saw the stage play "God of Carnage"and throughly enjoyed it. The dialogue between the four characters was so interesting I had to read the written play, The interchange of ideas by their open discussion was wonderful. Reading the script brought more meaning to the play.
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I had continued to see sparkling reviews of this, Yasmina Reza's newest work. I was familiar with, "Art", which I found to be nothing more than three stars, but since this ran on Broadway featuring a number of actors I highly respect, I decided to read it in a bookstore before purchasing.

Glad I did.

Now, despite the fact I gave the play a rating of two stars, it is NOT a "bad" play, and hell, it's even entertaining, but I must ask a question we must all ask of any sort of literature: what's the point?

As far as "The God of Carnage" goes, nothing.

Two couples fight over their kids, throwing back and forth insults sometimes witty, sometimes not, in a well translated (but not without it's occasional slip-ups) French piece by a French playwright who's notably French works can't help but be really French in nature ("The Bald Soprano" shout-out!). While the couples hurl insults - and one of them hurls the contents of her stomach (an entirely unnecessary action), the play seems to drag as it progresses, changing subjects from the kids to the parents themselves. Now, this is a nice little idea, but nothing really INTERESTING is said, and no transformations occur in the characters that give the conflict a POINT; unlike in "Art".

The play is fast paced and sometimes funny, but as the reviews stated, the show was really made great on Broadway by the wonderful cast and excellent direction (as I heard most of the play was physical comedy). Too bad it doesn't translate to the written page; if anyone cares what I think, I'd venture that Neil Labute's "Reasons to be Pretty" was better than this.
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By Vance on June 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
I am going to be a contraian. This was certainly well written, entertaining, but where did it ultimately end. What was the message. Couples arguing over their children. Yes, they were fully realized characters, and I was entertained, but the 5 star reviews? A 3, maybe almost 4, is the best I can do.
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Yasmina Reza is one of the world's most insightful and philophical playwrights of our time. And the translation by Christopher Hampton is magnificent.
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This is a great show and worth the read and seeing it on stage! This script - the popular version - is translated from the original French. It is very similar to the Broadway show, but not exactly.
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One of the funniest plays ever written. If you saw the film "Carnage," don't judge it by that. The original play is a comedy gem.
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