The God of Carnage Paperback – Jan 27 2009
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"Reza holds the mirror up to bourgeois hypocrisy withthe savage indignation of a born satirist", Guardian. "A triumph! Brilliantly translated by Christopher Hampton", Daily Express.
About the Author
Christopher Hampton was born in the Azores in 1946. He wrote his first play, When Did You Last See My Mother? at the age of eighteen. Since then, his plays have included The Philanthropist, Savages, Tales from Hollywood, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, White Chameleon and The Talking Cure. He has translated plays by Ibsen, Molière, von Horváth, Chekhov and Yasmina Reza (including Art and Life x 3). His television work includes adaptations of The History Man and Hotel du Lac. His screenplays include The Honorary Consul, The Good Father, Dangerous Liaisons, Mary Reilly, Total Eclipse, The Quiet American, Carrington, The Secret Agent and Imagining Argentina, the last three of which he also directed, and A Dangerous Method, based on his play The Talking Cure. Appomattox was first presented on the McGuire Proscenium Stage of the Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis, USA, in September 2012 as the centrepiece of a major retrospective of his plays and films.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Two couples arguing over a children's playground fight? No, that would be too easy for Reza. It's a contest that drags in the state of the two marriages, the attributes and characters of all four adults. It becomes a war of wills, probing the fabric of their lives and lies.
It's fun to watch these four people destroying themselves and each other as battle lines are drawn and redrawn. The insults they throw at each other are priceless. Loyalty to one's spouse becomes a disposable commodity. Spouses turn on spouses; new alliances are formed and dissolved. Vomit plays a role in the farce so be prepared. There are some very funny lines. Michel says, "Puking seems to have perked you up."
Both men show off their macho credentials by boasting about being gang members when they were kids. Bruno is accused of being a grass (informer). Michel becomes a "murderer" because he has gotten rid of the family's pet hamster, Nibbles, on the street. All of them are self-indulgent yuppies who easily get off the subject of the kids and into their yuppyish issues. Alain, a lawyer, is constantly talking on his cell phone until someone puts it out of commission.
It's a very clever, focused play, full of laughs. The play owes something to Absurdist traditions. The dialogue at times is inane and absurdist, ridiculous. The way the trouble intensifies is like the proliferation of chairs in Ionesco's famous play. The verbal slaughter that takes place on the stage makes clear the title. Deep meaning and insights? No, but, yes to stripping bare the pretensions and inner feelings of four self-absorbed spoiled adult brats who are probably raising monsters like themselves.
Glad I did.
Now, despite the fact I gave the play a rating of two stars, it is NOT a "bad" play, and hell, it's even entertaining, but I must ask a question we must all ask of any sort of literature: what's the point?
As far as "The God of Carnage" goes, nothing.
Two couples fight over their kids, throwing back and forth insults sometimes witty, sometimes not, in a well translated (but not without it's occasional slip-ups) French piece by a French playwright who's notably French works can't help but be really French in nature ("The Bald Soprano" shout-out!). While the couples hurl insults - and one of them hurls the contents of her stomach (an entirely unnecessary action), the play seems to drag as it progresses, changing subjects from the kids to the parents themselves. Now, this is a nice little idea, but nothing really INTERESTING is said, and no transformations occur in the characters that give the conflict a POINT; unlike in "Art".
The play is fast paced and sometimes funny, but as the reviews stated, the show was really made great on Broadway by the wonderful cast and excellent direction (as I heard most of the play was physical comedy). Too bad it doesn't translate to the written page; if anyone cares what I think, I'd venture that Neil Labute's "Reasons to be Pretty" was better than this.
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