On October 8th I attended a performance of “God of Carnage,” a play that was held in Zoellner Arts Center’s Diamond Theater. The play, originally written in French by Yasmina Reza, offered a cast of nearly all Lehigh students. It tells the story of two sets of parents trying to solve an argument between their children, only to lose their tempers and resort to childish behavior themselves.
What was interesting to me about the play itself was the humor behind it: in mocking the story of two wealthy white couples bickering over trivial matters, there’s the possibility that the play is in fact taking jabs at who the playwright would assume to be their typical audience. The production originally premiered on Broadway, and there can often be stereotypes regarding the types of people who pay to see this type of show. Interestingly enough, these people are mirrored in the characters onstage – they all boast a comfortable social and economic status, and boast traits that reflect the people who may be in the audience.
One character is devoted to her work on a book about the crisis in Darfur, while actually taking little action for the cause itself. Another character’s cell phone is constantly going off, which results in him excusing himself from the conversation. Eventually, the idea of the two boys’ argument is abandoned altogether, and we instead are treated to the main characters’ own immature antics.
The superficiality of the characters is a main theme of the plot – I just wonder whether this element is included to show the audience a group of people who are nothing like themselves, or ones who actually mimic their own lives.