Bellevue College students of StageFright, a club for theatre enthusiasts, will perform a student-produced version of the play “God of Carnage” at the Stop Gap Theatre in E200 April 16-18. Written by Yasmina Reza and directed by Derik Radcliffe, the play follows an escalating argument between two couples, Michael and Veronica Novak, and Allen and Annette Raleigh, who are played by Brian Ollivier, Kayla Hammond, Jack Anderson and Selene Nelson, respectively.
“God of Carnage, in essence, is the story of two married couples coming together to meet after the child of one couple assaults the child of the other,” said Ollivier, “it’s a very introspective look into how childish arguments and problems can affect adults in their own way and also how adults can behave very childishly themselves.”
The two couples Novak and Raleigh come together to resolve a fight between their children, Henry and Benjamin. Their efforts to work out the problem are ineffectual as the two couples start to argue. Fights break out and more arguments ensue. As the tension between the two couples rise, any plans to fix the situation seem futile.
Originally written in French, “God of Carnage” received international recognition after premiering in Gielgund Theatre at London’s West End in 2008. It opened on Broadway March 22, 2009. The play has received three Tony awards including Best Play and was nominated for another three. In 2011 the play was adapted into a film starring Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, Christoph Waltz and John C. Reilley.
“It’s a serio-comedy,” described Ollivier. The play is a blend of humor and solemnity. “It’s a devolution of parents from adults into children,” explained Anderson, “they’re fighting about how children should act, but then start acting like children themselves.”
The play embodies Murphy’s Law; anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
“Everything turns to shit. Life is life and there is nothing that we can do about it. Everything – people, nature, or animals – fights. These two couples come together to not fight, but they start to fight,” said Anderson as he explained the meaning behind the title.
“Each character has their moment of likeability and yet, they all have their moments when you do not want to like them,” said Nelson.
Ollivier agreed, saying “all the characters are beautifully complex. Every character has their own little realm that they live in.”
“The characters are putting on a mask and trying to impress others,” explained Anderson, “as the play goes on, their façade starts to break down and you really see the truth behind these characters.”
Auditions for “God of Carnage” were held in winter quarter and the production of the play began three weeks ago.
“Derik put in a lot of thought into the staging, the characters’ movements and motivations, the set pieces, and the choreography. He’s done a really incredible job with directing the play,” said Ollivier.
Being a StageFright production, BC’s rendition of “God of Carnage” is entirely student produced. StageFright invites BC’s students who are interested in theatre, with or without experience, to participate in their upcoming productions or their improv group, Stone Tablet.
“The people in the club are some of the most nicest and accepting people I’ve ever seen,” explained Ollivier. StageFright meetings are on Friday at 12:30 p.m. followed by an open improv group at 1:30.
The play will run for 80 – 90 minutes without an intermission.