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Huntington in the hands of an angry ‘God’

January 13, 2012

Published in Metro

Like Charlie Sheen and the producers of “Jersey Shore,” the playwright behind “God of Carnage” knows the secret to a successful show: people behaving badly.

In Huntington Theatre’s latest, two sets of wealthy Brooklyn parents meet to discuss their sons’ playground altercation. Polite conversation, however, quickly degenerates into a display of animalistic warfare much worse than their children’s squabble.

“In real life, people have a social buffer. These characters are allowed to say and do all of the things that we wish we could,” says director Daniel Goldstein. “All the rules are taken away.”

The play debuted in Paris, so it had to be translated for British audiences and, later, American ones.

“It’s still the same play at its core,” Goldstein says. Though cultural references and the setting were adjusted for each country, the original jokes transcend languages.

The play’s four characters are funny because they’re both realistic and outlandish, Goldstein says. There’s Alan, a lawyer glued to his phone, and his “wealth manager” wife Annette. The couple visits the home of Michael, a wholesaler, and Veronica, a writer obsessed with Africa, its tragedies in particular.

“We can pay attention to wrongs being done in faraway lands,” Goldstein says. “But we don’t actually allow ourselves to notice the things that are taking place right in front of us.”

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