Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
The Portsmouth Little Theatre (PLT) is proud to present the award-winning play, “God of Carnage,” on June 7, 8, 14 and 15 at 7:30 p.m. The show will be the final performance of their 2012-13 season.
“God of Carnage” is billed as a black “comedy of manners… without the manners.” Simply, the play is about two sets of parents, one of whose child has hurt the other at a park, who meet to discuss the incident in a mature and civilized manner. As the evening goes on, the parents become increasingly childish and conversations dissolve into chaos.
“These are four not-real-pleasant people. Each of them have massive character flaws,” said actress and secretary of the PLT Board of Governors Leigh Anne Smith.
The original Broadway production, starring Jeff Daniels (of HBO’s “The Newsroom”), Hope Davis (of the film “American Splendor”), James Gandolfini (of HBO’s “The Sopranos”) and Marcia Gay Hardin (of the film “Into the Wild”) won three Tony awards in 2009 for Best Actress (Hardin), Best Director (Matthew Warchus) and Best Play (Yasmina Reza) as well as the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Comedy (Yasmina Reza).
In 2011, Roman Polanski directed the film adaptation, simply titled “Carnage,” starring Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Christoph Waltz and Kate Winslet. The film premiered at the 68th Venice International Film Festival and was nominated for Golden Globe Awards, two Satellite Awards, two European Film Awards, one Goya Away and one Cesar Award.
“It’s multi-award winning and it’s hilarious. I mean, really … when we read the script, we just found it funny. And it lends itself to our talents and to our stage. It’s a one-act show. There’s four characters … and it’s just more easily adapted for us. We do a musical every year, but when we do a musical we have to determine ‘how many in the cast?’ and ‘how big does the stage need to be?’ because our stage is really limited,” Smith said.
The Portsmouth Little Theater production is directed by Jim Hayes and originally written by Yasmina Reza — translated by Christopher Hampton. The local show stars Kasie Leightenheimer and Michael Stapleton as Annette and Alan Raleigh, respectively, and Leigh Anne Smith and Loren Keller as Veronica and Michael Novak, respectively.
This ensemble piece runs one act and just over 90 minutes.
“This show is tremendously difficult, as it is truly an ensemble piece. All four of us are on stage virtually the entire show. Our characters’ emotions run the gamut and there are exhausting peaks and valleys. We go from giggling uncontrollably to literally screaming and crying,” Smith said. “This has been the most difficult piece I’ve ever tackled and I wouldn’t change a second of this experience. From the first time I read the script, I was crying with laughter on page two. This is my dream role – thanks to Jim (Hayes) I can mark one off my bucket list! I could not be more proud that PLT chose this piece to end the 2012-13 season.”
Smith said she was a fan of the show even before she was cast, but the cast members had collectively decided not to watch the or movie rendition — even though she admits they’ve all seen it before — because they didn’t want those performances to influence their own.
“I’m very thankful that I read it first before I had seen any of the performances of it. The movie is a little different, because it is a film, but it doesn’t stray tremendously from the script. If you’ve ever seen it, it really is like you’re watching a play,” Smith said. “I didn’t want to watch it while I was in production, because I’m not Jodie Foster and I didn’t want to react like she did. I wanted it to be my interpretation of Veronica. I think we all felt that way.”
The performance is rated R for adult language. Tickets are $10 for seniors and students, and $12 for adults. Please visit www.pltlive.com to purchase tickets.
Smith said the PLT Board of Governors is now beginning to plan their 2013-14 show season, which opens in October. A complete list of shows will be released at a later date, she said.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or email@example.com. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTWriter.