French playwright Yasmina Reza wrote one tough play about a conflict between two families that turns into conflicts between spouses and between sexes.
The struggles for understanding and better communication are universal, and Reza’s script translates into any language, as proven with the successful Broadway run of the one-act, 90-minute play.
It doesn’t matter whether the four characters are French or American, white, black or black and white, as is the case with Mixed Magic’s production. In fact, it would even work with a heterosexual and a homosexual couple.
Michael and Veronica Novak (Tom Chace and Christina Wolfskehl) invite Alan and Annette Raleigh (Amos Hamrick Jr. and Hannah Lum) to their home to calmly settle a conflict problem between their two 11-year-old sons. The Raleigh boy has broken a couple of the Novak boy’s teeth after being taunted by him. The meeting starts off cordially if somewhat awkwardly as the four adults try their hardest to be nice. Subtle statements lead to outright accusations and the situation becomes quite tense.
Alan, a lawyer representing a pharmaceutical company accused of hiding the truth, is constantly disrupting the conversation by taking calls on his cell phone.
The scene grows tenser and tenser as the two couples begin to reveal problems in their own marriages. The men and women find themselves siding with each other. The spouses uncover hidden resentments toward each other.
Michael grows violent as he is pushed to the edge by all three characters. He has done something terrible to his daughter’s hamster, revealing a dark side to his character. But they all have dark sides, and they are all challenged for them.
There is one incredibly tense moment when Annette vomits on a valuable book, and another when the cell phone is more than one person can take.
This all leads to a dramatic conclusion of a play that says a lot about human nature in a short time.
The acting is very good, especially Hannah Lum, who has that critical ability to always be on, reacting to the other three with such emotion.
“God of Carnage” is one tough play, and Mixed Magic, under the direction of Rich Morra, handles it perfectly.
Mixed Magic has moved into the old Lorraine Mills building at 560 Mineral Spring Ave., Pawtucket, about halfway between Providence and North Providence. There is plenty of free parking. The theatre and the lobby are easily accessible and quite pleasant, with artwork covering most of the walls.
“God of Carnage” plays through May 18, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Call 305-7333 or go online at www.mmtri.com for information and reservations.