Reviewed by Paul R. McCulloch
People like to say that "life imitates art", and like all adages and phrases, we carry this saying like a shield or a sword, hoping it will get us through the conflict of our daily lives. But the fact that we rely so much on these phrases means that we so often forget to check if they haven't broken down. Of course, when we do take the time to check, it's already too late - they're of no use. So what do we have then?
God of Carnage, a play by Yasmina Reza, is on one level an answer to this question; on another, it's a hysterically funny ninety minutes of mayhem; on another it's a startlingly thought-provoking play; on another, it's a slice into the lives of people we come to realize are just like us. But this is no morality tale, and if it is, it's so intricately woven into Reza's script that we aren't really wise to it until the curtain closes and we start to head out of the theatre and on our way home.
It's about two couples - Veronica and Michael Novak (Shauna Black and Oliver Becker) and Alan and Annette Raleigh (John Cassini and Vickie Papavs) - who meet in the Novaks' home to discuss the small matter of the Raleighs' son Benjamin having hit the Novaks' son Henry in the face with a stick.