When people stop being polite: Olympic Theater Arts run of ‘Carnage’ continues this weekend
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Charisa Silliman portrays the uptight Annette Raleigh in “God of Carnage.” -- Photo by Diane Urbani de la Paz /Peninsula Daily News

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

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SEQUIM — It all starts out with “Love and Marriage,” crooned sweetly by Frank Sinatra. But the song is about the only smooth part of this play.

Our two marrieds, Alan and Annette Raleigh and Michael and Veronica Novak, appear genteel at first. Their sons got into a fight on the playground, and they are meeting in the Novak home to resolve the situation.

The four are polite. A snack is served. But as they talk at one another, their “civilization” deteriorates. Rapidly.

“God of Carnage,” a drama about two sets of parents doing verbal battle in Brooklyn, N.Y., continues tonight — the second night of a three-week run — at Olympic Theatre Arts, 414 N. Sequim Ave.

Olivia Shea of Sequim is the director of this 2009 Tony Award-winning play, by Yazmina Reza.

After five weeks of rehearsals, the four actors in “Carnage” are keyed up — as is appropriate for this story.

Laura Eyestone, a Port Angeles schoolteacher, plays Veronica while Mark Valentine, also a teacher, portrays her husband Michael.

“I have everything figured out and under control,” Laura Eyestone says of Veronica. Of course, each one of the others in this play thinks he or she knows best how to handle the kids’ fight and, for that matter, how to bring up children.

There’s Alan the attorney who is just about constantly attending to his mobile device. He’s played by Philip Young, an actor who has appeared in dozens of Clallam County theater productions; “Carnage” is his 40th local play.

Alan’s young wife Annette is played by another well-known actor, Charisa Silliman, in a sharply tailored black suit and knife-point red pumps.

They face off against the Novaks: Veronica the self-righteous writer and Michael the household-goods wholesaler.

There are social-class differences here, Young said, which feed the conflagration. The politically and socially incorrect statements the four hurl at one another don’t help.

“I have no manners,” Young added of his character.

“It’s really about the crumbling of the facade” of politeness, added Silliman.

Valentine, for his part, calls Reza’s script extraordinary. And the “God of Carnage” title, he believes, refers to that force of brutality that lurks behind people’s interactions.

Eyestone, meanwhile, calls this a dark comedy, and promises that theatergoers will see “a lot of humor — and a lot of truth.”

Silliman added that when Shea asked her to read for the role of Annette, she didn’t hesitate.

“You never turn down a chance to work with Olivia,” she said. “She has such a clear picture of what she wants.”

The message of “Carnage,” Shea mused, is that this human race hasn’t come so very far.

“Scratch the surface,” she said, “and you find a cave man.” Or woman.

Curtain times for “God of Carnage” are 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays, through May 5. Tickets are $16 for adults and $11 for youth, while Olympic Theatre Arts members and active-duty military service members receive a $2 discount.

To reserve seats, visit www.OlympicTheatreArts.com, phone 360-683-7326 or see Olympic Theatre Arts’ page on Facebook. The playhouse opens an hour before each show, and remaining tickets will be available at the door.

“Carnage” races along, Shea said. There’s no intermission in the 90-minute play.

For the director and actors, there’s “a sense of urgency,” added Shea. “Strong language, though,” she warned.

Last modified: April 18. 2013 6:22PM
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