The evolution of parents to children

King’s Town Players puts on a wonderfully childish production of God of Carnage

In the play God of Carnage, two sets of parents get embroiled in an argument over their children and find themselves exemplifying child-like behaviour themselves.
In the play God of Carnage, two sets of parents get embroiled in an argument over their children and find themselves exemplifying child-like behaviour themselves.
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Turns out you can be young again.

It’s not always a good thing, though. God of Carnage follows an afternoon meeting between two sets of parents: the Raleighs and the Novaks.

The action begins offstage, when the Raleighs’ son Benjamin hits the Novaks’ son Henry in the face with a stick.

Over the next half hour, the audience watches four adults seemingly degenerate into children. As they argue about their own childrens’ behaviour with more sarcasm than a playground altercation could produce, there’s a lot of cursing, insults, homophobia, misogyny and racism — basically what you would encounter between two 13-year-olds on Xbox Live.

While some of the dialogue can certainly make the audience uncomfortable, it’s what makes the play so good to watch. The entire story is set in the confines of the Novaks’ living room, a pale wash of pink with simple seating and a bottle of rum to the side.

Without a change of scenery, it would be easy to get bored of God of Carnage, but the well-written characters and creative blocking of the climactic action kept the audience entertained.

The arguing between the adults devolves more and more from what their sons did to how their adult lives are unfolding. As the four main characters strode across the set, the evolving dialogue kept the audience captivated.

The characters were realistic and fun to watch. I imagine my parents might get into childish arguments like this, although I can’t really see my mom drinking too much rum and throwing up on the coffee table. There’s the sharing of French dessert caflouti near the outset of the play. Here are the artificial remarks of how delicious it is, with the Raleighs asking the Novaks for the recipe.

It’s an interesting parallel to the middle of the play, when the bottle of rum is passed around. That’s where things get really messy.

The characters, who originally tried to keep their personalities subdued, get more and more out of control.

Alan Raleigh makes a little remark about how people link morality with control, but sometimes it’s good to let go.

At the end of the play, the stage is a mess. The characters, who were all impressively played, let their lack of control extend to their actions. It’s comparable to two boys fighting, with one getting hit in the face with a stick.

King’s Town Players production of God of Carnage runs at the Kingston Yacht Club until Feb. 9.

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