“God of Carnage” at Dobama Theatre

Image courtesy of http://www.dobama.org

God of Carnage, the 2009 Tony Award winner for Best Play and 2009 Olivier Award winner for Best New Play, is now playing at Dobama Theatre in Cleveland Heights.  A humorous and all-to-real look at modern day suburban life, God of Carnage offers a delightful romp at the theatre.

Written by French playwright Yasmina Reza, and translated by Christopher Hampton, God of Carnage presents a “slice of life” to which many parents can relate.  Alan and Annette Raleigh visit Michael and Veronica Novak to discuss an altercation that has occurred between their sons at a community park.  Soon the altercation transfers from the sons and the park to the parents and the Novak’s living room, resulting in trivial chaos.  God of Carnage provides for a thoroughly entertaining night at the theatre with a great deal of bickering and a hell of a lot of laughs.  Theatre goers haven’t had this much fun in someone’s living room since Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Not only is God of Carnage a well written play, which has enjoyed much success in its original French and English-translated incarnations, but this rendition is a very well acted production, too.  Scott Miller and Derdriu Ring play the more “corporate-minded” Raleighs while John Hedges and Tracee Patterson give us the more “grounded” Novaks.  In their respective roles, all four actors take a rather simple everyday situation (after all, what child hasn’t been in a playground fight at some point in his life?) and take it to new heights.  They all present the epitome of a “crazy” and irrational parent while still remaining completely believable.

Joel Hammer, Dobama’s Artistic Director, is the director of this production.  I had seen Mr. Hammer’s wonderful performance in Dobama’s stellar production of Conor McPherson’s The Seafarer.  He is an excellent actor, but now that I have seen his work as a director, it is quite obvious that he is a multi-talented force in Cleveland’s theatre scene.

The black box space where Dobama Theatre is located is perfect for the edgy and non-conventional productions that the company offers.  It is a very warm and inviting space that provides for a very intimate theatrical experience.  I had not seen a Dobama Theatre production until last December when I attended The Seafarer.  And following that and God of Carnage, I realize that I have been missing out!  God of Carnage runs through May 13.

Dobama Theatre is located in the Lee Road Branch of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Library at 2340 Lee Road in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.  Convenient, free on-site parking is available.  For more information on Dobama Theatre or God of Carnage, please visit the theatre’s website at www.Dobama.org.

- Christopher S. Musselman

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