Two sets of parents meet up to deal with the unruly behavior of their children. Will it be a calm and rational debate between grown-ups about the need to teach kids how to behave properly? Or will it turn into a hysterical night of name-calling, tantrums and tears before bedtime?
I'll be honest and tell you that this show was not on our list of potentials when we were planning our trip last weekend to New York. In fact, I was told by my lovely that although she liked Marcia Gay Harden a lot, she simply couldn't stand to see James Gandolfini so don't even bother. Scheduling and run times being what they are, we were faced with a dilemma Thursday afternoon as Tony buzz was causing tickets to fly out the door at every theatre. God of Carnage was right across the street from two places we needed to go after the show, and it was a relatively short show at 90 minutes with no intermission. I did my best coercing and rationalizing while the box office finagled the last two seats in the orchestra section of the Jacobs Theatre. :) I'm very glad I did, they did, and my lovely took a chance and trusted me! What a fantastic show!
There is just something about watching a small group of seasoned, professional actors on a stage take control of a play. Marcia Gay Harden, James Gandolfini, Jeff Daniels, and Hope Davis all take command of the small stage at some point during the show displaying their acting chops, but the best scenes involve the utter physical chaos and emotional carnage the four of them heap on the stage as one well choreographed group.
The audience is taken on a roller coaster ride as the discussion by mature adults regarding the problem between their children via a playground scuffle turns into a brawl of words, flowers, pillows, cell phones, cigars and just a "splash" of vomit. Lest ye think this is a 90 minute event of stress, let me assure you that we laughed for the majority of the show! We both agreed that Marcia Gay Harden is hilarious, and who knew?
God of Carnage is a simple topic made into a hilarious and poignant commentary on our civilization and just how little we have evolved from the common playground rules and scuffles.
God of Carnage is currently playing at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre through August 2, 2009 and has been nominated for six Tony Awards including Best Play, two for Best Actor, and two for Best Actress.