God of Carnage

Infobox Play
name = God of Carnage/Le Dieu de Carnage

image_size =
caption = God of Carnage Original West End Production Poster
writer = Yasmina Reza
chorus =
characters = Alain Reille
Annette Reille
Véronique Vallon
Michel Vallon
mute =
setting =
date of premiere = 8 December 2006
country of Origin = flagicon|France France
original language = French
series =
subject =
genre = Comedy
web = http://godofcarnage.com/
playbill_event =
ibdb_id =

"God of Carnage" (originally "Le Dieu de Carnage") is a play by Yasmina Reza, first directed by Jürgen Gosch and performed first in Zürich on 8 December, 2006. [cite web|url=http://www.godofcarnage.com/cast_creative/yasmina_reza.php|title=Yasmina Reza|publisher=God of Carnage|accessdate=2008-03-26] It was first produced in English in London on 25 March, 2008 translated by Christopher Hampton. [cite web|url=http://www.godofcarnage.com/cast_creative/christopher_hampton.php|title=Christopher Hampton|publisher=God of Carnage|accessdate=2008-03-26] The play is about two pairs of parents. The child of one couple hurt the other at school, so the parents meet up in order to discuss the matter in a civilized manner. However, as the evening goes on, the parents become increasingly childlike, resulting in the whole evening going into chaos.


Before the play beings, two 11-year-old children, Ferdinand Reille and Bruno Vallon play a game on their school playground which involves appeasing the "God of Carnage". As a result, Ferdinand knocks out two of Bruno's teeth with a stick. That night, the parents of both children meet in order to discuss the matter. Ferdinand's father, Alain, is a lawyer who is never off his mobile phone. Ferdinand's mother, Annette is in "Wealth management" (her husband's wealth, to be precise), and constantly wears good shows. Bruno's father, Michel, is a self-made wholesaler with an unwell mother. Bruno's mother, Véronique, is writing a book about Darfur. As the evening goes on, the meeting degenerates into the four of them getting into irrational arguments, up to the point where they even bring up the topics of misogyny, racial prejudice and homophobia. [cite web|last=Coveney|first=Micheal|url=http://www.whatsonstage.com/index.php?pg=207&story=E8821206528075|title=God of Carnage|publisher=Whatsonstage.com|date=2008-03-26|accessdate=2008-03-26] [cite news|last=Nightingale|first=Benedict|authorlink=Benedict Nightingale|url=http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/stage/theatre/article3621362.ece|title=God of Carnage at the Gielgud, W1|publisher="The Times"|date=2008-04-26|accessdate=2008-04-26]

Original West End production

"God of Carnage" opened in the West End at the Gielgud Theatre on 25 March, 2008. The original cast featured Ralph Fiennes as Alain, Tamsin Greig as Annette, Janet McTeer as Véronique and Ken Stott as Michel. [cite web|url=http://www.godofcarnage.com/cast_creative/|title=Cast - Creative|publisher=God of Carnage|accessdate=2008-03-27] On the opening night of the performance, there was a power cut about an hour into the show. The show therefore had to continue in emergency lighting. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7315110.stm|title=Show goes on after lights go out|publisher=BBC|date=2008-03-26|accessdate=2008-03-27]

Despite this, the play was reviewed positively by most critics. Dominic Cavendish in the "Daily Telegraph" wrote that, "with no lesser stars than Ralph Fiennes, Tamsin Greig, Ken Stott and Janet McTeer playing the warring quartet, parents and non-parents alike will surely be elbowing each other out of the way to get a ringside view from the stalls." [cite news|last=Cavendish|first=Dominic|url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?view=DETAILS&grid=&xml=/arts/2008/03/22/btticket122.xml|title=Hot ticket: Ralph Fiennes in God of Carnage|publisher="Daily Telegraph"|date=2008-03-28|accessdate=2008-03-22] Micheal Billington in "The Guardian" gave the play four out of five stars saying that, "All four actors are excellent and, in Matthew Warchus's deft production, show the thin veneer of bourgeois pretence." [cite news|last=Billington|first=Michael|url=http://arts.guardian.co.uk/theatre/drama/reviews/story/0,,2268111,00.html|title=God of Carnage|publisher="The Guardian"|date=2008-03-26|accessdate=2008-03-28] When the play was being discussed on "Newsnight Review", Mark Kermode said that he laughed all the way through the play and Anne McElvoy described it as, "A fantastic "Abigail's Party" for the urban, professional classes." John Harris described "God of Carnage" as, "A play of two halves", in that the cast is British and it projects Britishness, but then it changes and claims that the cast behaves in ways that British people do not normally behave (the French half). [cite episode|title=28/03/2008|series=Newsnight Review|serieslink=Newsnight|airdate=2008-02-28]

Benedict Nightingale in "The Times" gave the play four out of five stars, although did have citicisms, saying, "With Matthew Warchus directing these superb performers and Christopher Hampton translating, the effect is tense, edgy and funny. The problem, as the title hints, is that Reza wants us to see her molehill as a mountain. Her subjects come to embrace African genocide, conflict resolution, restorative justice and the moral nature of us human animals – and, though she might retort that microcosms may imply macrocosms or acorns signify oaks, the play cannot bear such weight." [cite news|last=Nightingale|first=Benedict|authorlink=Benedict Nightingale|url=http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/stage/theatre/article3621362.ece|title=God of Carnage at the Gielgud|publisher="The Times"|date=2008-03-26|accessdate=2008-03-28]

Ray Bennett for Reuters was critical also, saying, "There are some very funny lines, and all four performers delight in the power of well-constructed dialogue to both soothe and draw blood. At the end, the hypocrisies of both couples are laid bare, but at 90 minutes, the play hasn't enough time to go very deep and ends up offering neither catharsis nor harmony." [cite web|last=Bennett|first=Ray|url=http://www.reuters.com/article/artsNews/idUSN2832575220080328?pageNumber=2&virtualBrandChannel=0|title="God of Carnage" lacks a killer instinct|publisher=Reuters|date=2008-03-28|accessdate=2008-03-28]

Crew and creative team

*Author - Yasmina Reza
*Translator - Christopher Hampton
*Director - Matthew Warchus
*Designer - Mark Thompson
*Lighting Design - Hugh Vanstone
*Music - Gary Yershon
*Sound Design - Simon Baker
*Casting - Sarah Bird
*Assistant Director - Rachel Russell
*Production Manager - Crosbie Marlow Associates
*Producers - David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers


External links


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