Der Gott des Gemetzels
A pharmaceutical lawyer married to a financial consultant. A writer with an Africa-focus married to a sanitation supplies salesman. How often would two such opposite couples ever meet? Rarely. Do they have anything in common? No. Except when they both have children and these children go to the same school. In that case, it might indeed happen that two such couples have to spend an afternoon in each other’s company.
Yasmina Reza’s play “Der Gott des Gemetzels (The God of Carnage)” tells the story of such an exceptional occurrence. And rarely has there been such a sensationally precise study of this clash of civilisations – or such a sensationally funny one. We are all aware that the varnish of civilization can be thin at times, but Yasmina Reza shows how this varnish is chipped away, layer by layer, right here in all of our neighbourhoods, as it were. Maximum entertainment!
The two sons got into a fight and one of them knocked out two of the other’s teeth, and so the parents have agreed to meet for espresso and home-baked delicacies to settle this affair amicably in the spirit of non-violent discourse. But what begins as a competition between tolerant urbanites soon develops into a free-for-all in which the parents by far outshine their sons. Their verbal battles may not knock out any teeth, but they certainly turn their opponents’ lives on their heads. The turbulences are not only between the couples, but between partners as well. And across the white tulips and the tasteful coffee-table books, the principles of occidental behavioural codices are smashed into tiny little pieces…