By Bonnie Goldberg

When two sets of parents get together to discuss their eleven year old sons who had an altercation at a local park, their conversation is initially polite and civilized.  No blame is cast on either side as they try to determine how and why Benjamin took a stick and knocked out two of Henry’s teeth.  How provoked was the instigator and how guilty was the victim?  As the discussion and the evening progress, the parents stoop to childish roles, even temper tantrums, turning the talk into chaos.

For a front row seat for the interrogation and investigation, attend the east coast premiere of Yasmina Reza’s “God of Carnage,” translated by Christopher Hampton, at TheaterWorks of Hartford until Sunday, December 19.

The art of co-existence is strained to the breaking point as Veronica (Candy Buckley) and Michael (Wynn Harmon) Novak open their home to meet Annette (Susan Bennett) and Alan (Royce Johnson) Raleigh.  Veronica is passionate about her causes, like the book she is writing on Darfur, and right now her focus is her injured son and the ordeal he suffered.  Her hard working wholesaler husband Michael doesn’t quite know how to react to the aggressive attorney Alan and his slightly unbalanced wife Annette, whom Alan affectionately refers to as “woof, woof.”

When the four parents collide, reasonableness flies out the window, cell phones continually vibrate, tulips are crushed, hamsters escape, rare books are ruined, Cuban cigars are offered, rare bottles of rum are consumed and the adults discover how like their children they really are.  Tazewell Thompson directs this talented cast through this comic clash of civilization meets chaos.

For tickets ($40-62.50), call TheaterWorks, 233 Pearl Street, Hartford at 860-527-7838 or online at www.theaterworkshartford.org. ; Performances are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with weekend matinees at 2:30 p.m.

Pick a side and see who is responsible, who is the victim, who the executioner, who the child and who the adult.


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