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God of Carnage Proves Playground Fights Aren't Just Kids' Territory

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A playground fight between two children has led to a meeting of four concerned (well some not so much) parents. In playwright Yasmina Reza's God of Carnage, politeness turns to disagreement and then impossible behavior in this tale of parents behaving increasingly badly.

Even though the Alley Theatre put this on just last year, Kim Tobin, actress and co-artistic director of Stark Naked Theatre, thought they should tackle it again-- this time with local actors Drake Simpson, Kay Allmand, John Gremillion and herself. Aided by the intimate stage setting at Spring Street Studios, the production should have everyone in the audience very involved when mayhem strikes.

"It should feel uncomfortable and fun," Tobin promises as these actors say all the outrageous kinds of things people think about saying, but usually (thank God) don't. And, in the end, she says, "It's cathartic." Because, she says, audiences can walk out after knowing that saying all those mean nasty things a) really don't get you anywhere and b) are going to make things a whole lot worse.

"The play isn't supposed to be real. The audience is supposed to feel like they're in a real room to start. And then it's supposed to disintegrate into what's not real. So that you get the luxury of experiencing of what would happen if all the constraints of realism fell away.," Tobin said.

Originally, God of Carnage was not supposed to be the second play in Stark Naked Theatre's three-play season (between Body Awareness and Macbeth). But Tobin said they took a closer look at the season, decided the two bookend plays were about relationship conflict and thought God of Carnage was a better fit to carry that theme and tie the season together.

Kim who plays Veronica describes her character as "a warrior for human rights. She's very exacting in her language and the way she approaches her philosophy about what's right and wrong. She believes that there's no point in existence without having a moral conception of the world.

Kay Allmand who plays Annette says: "She's a high-strung appearance centric people pleaser. She's a phony. She likes to smooth the edges. Not because she actually wants harmony. I just want out of here. I don't want to have to deal with it."

Both agree the issue really isn't the fight between the two children. The issue is that that triggers the real issue that the parents never grew up," Allmand said. "They're five year olds in adult bodies."

So be ready to duck as tulips and tempers fly and words and vomit spew forth. God of Carnage runs 7:30 p.m. Thursdays and March 4, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays. Through March 9. 1824 Spring Street. For information, call 832-866-6514 or visit www.starknakedtheatre.com. "Pay What You Can" to $20.

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