Next up at Church Hill Theatre in November is a powerful modern drama that takes a playground argument into the oh-so-civilized world of adults. While sticks and stones can break your bones, words certainly can be just as hurtful. After two young boys begin an argument with fists, their parents meet to sort things out over a friendly drink. Frequently hilarious, often disturbing and always thought-provoking, God of Carnage is not a sit-com.
Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage peels off the sophisticated veneer of her characters and CHT director Michael Whitehill has assembled a cast worthy of this Olivier and Tony award winning play. Eastern Shore audiences rarely experience cutting-edge contemporary drama, especially in such a polished production. God of Carnage will open November 3 and run for three weekends.
Annette and Alan are young, privileged and certain that their education and social status will, as usual, smooth things over. Annette, a wealth-manager, is played by Brianna Johnson, a versatile young actor who recently played both the ditzy Myrtle Mae in Harvey as well as Honey in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? J.W. Ruth is totally believable as Alan, her lawyer husband with a serious cell-phone addiction. Ruth is best known locally for his comic parts, as in Psycho Beach Party or Sense and Sensibility, but is well-cast in this more serious role.
Michael and Veronica are older, equally prosperous if not equally posh, and anxious to settle their boy’s problem. Michael is a self-employed wholesaler with a sick mother and Veronica is a lefty intellectual writing a book about refugees in Darfur. Christopher Wallace (remember him as the mad barber in Sweeney Todd?) nails Michael’s mental and physical toughness. Veronica is played by Christine Kinlock, an emotionally intelligent actor recently seen at CHT in Other Desert Cities, who has done everything from Shakespeare to drawing room comedy.
God of Carnage, by Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton, opens November 3 and runs weekends at Church Hill Theatre until November 19, with performances at 8 pm on Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 pm on Sundays. Tickets are already available on line at churchhilltheatre.org or through the office at 410-556-6003.