God of Carnage--A Savage Farce at MTC

Remi Sandri (Michael Novak), Stacy Ross (Veronica Novak), Rachel Harker (Annette Raleigh) and Warren David Keith (Alan Raleigh) in God of Carnage, now playing at Marin Theatre Company through June 17.

God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza which closes out Marin Theatre Company's 45th Anniversary Season is directed by Ryan Rilette, MTC's Producing Director.

Before the play begins, two 11 year old children, Benjamin and Henry, get involved in an argument because Henry refuses to let Benjamin join his gang.  Benjamin knocks out two of Henry's teeth with a stick.  That night, the parents of both children meet to discuss the matter.  Benjamin's father, Alan (Warren David Keith) is a lawyer who is never off his cell phone. Benjamin's mother, Annette (Rachel Harker), is in "wealth management"--her husband's wealth to be precise and consistently wears good shoes.  Henry's father Michael (Remi Sandri) is a self-made wholesaler with an unwell mother.  Michael's wife Veronica (Stacy Ross) is writing a book about Darfur.  As the evening goes on, the meeting degenerates into the four parents getting into irrational arguments, and their discussion falls into the loaded topics of misogyny, racial prejudice and homophobia.  One of the central dramatic moments of the play occurs when Annette vomits onstage all over the coffee table and Veronica's expensive art books.  

God of Carnage is a study in the tension between civilized surface and savage instinct.  The play begins with the characters regarding their spouses as guaranteed confederates and ends with all of them realizing they are on their own.  There were beautiful performances from Stacy Ross, Warren David Keith, Remi Sandri and Rachel Harker. They are all so genuine and their emotions are so real!  With Christopher Hampton as Reza's translator, the dialog is exact and very funny.  Ryan Rillette's astute direction positions his cast so that the spotlight moves seamlessly from one to the other. Each actor is a star whether in a solo turn or as an active silent member of the ensemble.  Nina Ball's set is an elegant modern living room kept immaculately tidy, it's towering brick wall covered with African masks.  

God of Carnage is a light and amusing social comedy which will draw an audience because of its fine cast and its buoyant direction by Ryan Rilette.

God of Carnage runs through June 24 at Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley. Performances are held Tuesday and Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m.; Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m. There are also Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. and also Saturday June 16 at 2 p.m. as well as Thursday, June 7 at 1 p.m. For tickets, call the box office at 415-388-5208 or go online at www.marintheatre.org

Coming up next at Marin Theatre Company will be the regional premiere of Circle Mirror Transformation by Annie Baker and directed by Kip Fagan from August 2-26, 2012.

Flora Lynn Isaacson