‘God of Carnage’ eyes altercation amid sophistication

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The set onstage at Curious Theatre for “God of Carnage” speaks to the entering audience of sophisticated refinement in the Novak home. A bouquet of precisely arranged white tulips stands out behind the white mid-century modern couch and chairs, and a glass coffee table holds a stack of art books. Tall brick wall panels alternate with dark spaces. What will transpire in this sleek, tidy setting?

Two sets of parents meet to discuss a playground disagreement between their 11-year-old sons: Why did it happen and what are the possible consequences? It seems that Benjamin Raleigh hit Henry Novack in the mouth with a stick, breaking a couple of teeth, when Henry refused to let him join his gang.

In the course of 90 minutes, these four civilized New Yorkers melt down in highly individualized and hilarious ways.

Veronica Novack (Dee Covington) is an art lover, writer and activist, while mild-mannered businessman Michael Novack (Erik Sandvold) sells household goods. Alan Rahleigh (Timothy McCracken) is an aggressive corporate lawyer who continually interrupts the conversation to answer his phone and bark instructions regarding a questionable pharmaceutical product. His wife, chic Annette (Karen Slack) is a wealth manager — with a supremely watchable face! What on earth is she thinking?

The boys actually seem to be of secondary interest to this quartet as they interact through a few hours, shifting alliances, playing off each other, making and defending outrageous statements.

Yet, each one seems very much alone, ultimately.

Yasmina Reza’s satiric slant shines in this wonderfully written script, translated from the French by British playwright Christopher Hampton.

Director Chip Walton has cast the play perfectly and provided a really organized ongoing mess to delight his audience, as words — and an occasional object — fly.

What more could a theater lover ask of an evening? Don’t miss this one.

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