Lincoln City’s Theatre West is closing out the 2019 season with an adaptation of “God of Carnage,” a Tony award-winning dark comedy by French playwright Yasmina Reza.
“I didn’t know it was a Tony winner when I chose it but I’m not surprised it was,” said Bryan Kirsch, who both acts in and directs this production. “I liked the premise from the beginning and thought it would be a good one for us to tackle.”
The play, first performed in 2007, is about two sets of parents who meet over (quite a few) drinks to discuss a playground incident involving their children that resulted in a small injury
To adapt the script for an English audience, translator Christopher Hampton didn’t have to change much as the premise is one that parents in any country can relate to.
A father himself, Kirsch knows full well the realistic aspects of the script.
“Some of my speeches are heartfelt,” he said. “Luckily I’ve never had an interaction quite like this one, but when you’re defending your children, it can get ugly.”
With no intermissions, the play brings you straight through the wild ride.
“Part of the fun is watching things go from good to horrible in a short amount of time,” Kirsch said. “The alcohol helps; there’s a lot of drinking.”
“It would be a very different play if the alcohol was real,” he added.
Joining Kirsch in his role as Michael Novak are Tracy Blakeman as Veronica Novak, Roseanne Johnson as Annette Raleigh and Paul Wilhelmi as Alan Raleigh.
Johnson plays the most-high strung of the parents and provides a surprising bit of physical comedy.
“I loved her for the part and though she would be perfect for it,” Kirsch said. “I was right.”
Blakeman’s Veronica Novak is a very different character.
“Tracy is great as the self-righteous wife who keeps her husband under her thumb,” Kirsch said. “She’s the ‘We’ll have peace or I’ll kill you’ type.”
A challenging aspect of his role was well met by Wilhelmi as Alan Raleigh, a lawyer who refuses to ignore calls.
“Those phone conversations are hard because you’re having a conversation that doesn’t exist,” Kirsch said. “He a did great job with it.”
Rounding out the crew is Alice Luchau as assistant director, Kate Daschel handling lights and sound and Debby Rhein as stage manager.
“God of Carnage” will run through June 1, with performances at 7:30 pm every Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Lincoln City Cultural Center, 540 NE Hwy. 101.
Tickets, $15 for adults or $13 for seniors and students, are available at www.lincolncity-culturalcenter.org/lccc-facility or by calling 541-994-9994. Advance reservations for all performances are highly recommended.
The play contains strong language and adult situations and is not recommended for children or the faint of heart.