In the play “God of Carnage,” opening on July 13—a Friday, how strangely appropriate—at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium of RCBC Plaza in Makati, a reference to Francis Bacon’s often grotesque and macabre works of art is made.
I don’t think this is coincidental, considering the absolute chaos this Yasmina Reza comedy (translated by Christopher Hampton) descends into, and the deft balancing act that everyone involved—actors and production staff alike, particularly the stage crew—need to pull off night after night.
It was first performed in France (Reza is French) in 2006, then headed into the West End in 2008, and on Broadway in 2009. It has won critical acclaim, awards (including the Olivier and the Tony for best play), and the hearts of many audience members fortunate enough to have seen it.
I caught it in New York with its final cast (Jeff Daniels, Dylan Baker, Janet McTeer and Lucy Liu), and it was worth the price of admission to see these four actors lay waste to that initially pristine and well-ordered set.
We’ve been rehearsing for the last two weeks, and each new day has brought us only closer to complete disintegration. And that is a good thing.
The plot seems simple enough: Two sets of married couples meet in one couple’s living room in what seems to be a civil discussion about their sons’ playground altercation.
However, what starts out as an admirable effort to patch things up devolves into horrendous shouting matches, three-against-one match-ups, and one-on-one combat. All in less than 90 minutes.