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The God of Carnage

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  3,787 ratings  ·  268 reviews
What happens when two sets of parents meet up to deal with the unruly behavior of their children? A calm and rational debate between grown-ups about the need to teach kids how to behave properly? Or a hysterical night of name-calling, tantrums, and tears before bedtime?

Christopher Hampton's translation of Yasmina Reza's sharp-edged new play The God of Carnage premiered at
Paperback, 80 pages
Published March 6th 2008 by Faber & Faber (first published January 19th 2007)
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3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,787 ratings  ·  268 reviews

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Jan 14, 2018 rated it liked it
As long as profit is more important than anything, Humanity will die everyday...
Many German people have protested against the Turkish crimes in Arifin, but the German government continues to sell more powerful tanks to Turkey, as Erdogan is not happy with the quality of previous tanks. He who sees governments are silent, calls for tanks to reach its goals more quickly, the goals that threaten all humanity.

Nietzsche says: This is a great lie that the government is the nation.
The German government
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: france, 2019-read
This text shows that we should discuss more plays and movie scripts as literary material: Reza's writing is stellar, her observations are sharp and witty, and we can always look at the performative dimension as an extra - as this is one of the most played theater productions of recent years and has also been turned into a movie (starring Jodie Foster, Christoph Waltz, Kate Winslet and John C. Reilly), there are plenty of versions.

The whole story takes place in an apartment in Paris and in real
May 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Holy Motherfuck. I love this play. I also love its movie adaptation Carnage (2011), which I have watched previous to reading the source material, but holy motherfuck, this story and its characters are exceptional.

The couple Véronique and Michel Houillé receive in their Parisian apartment the couple Annette and Alain Reille. 11-year-old Ferdinand Reille beat up his play mate Bruno Houillé with a stick at school and knocked out two of his incisors. The parents of the two have come together to dis
Steven Godin
Jan 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: france, plays-theatre
Yasmina Reza’s unsettling, humorous, and restless play remains as fresh in its exploration of the pitfalls of parenthood as it did when it first premiered in 2006. She is particularly strong in underscoring the quartet of parents` anxieties about married life, as they come together in a posh living room set to discuss a playground incident (an assault) by one of their children on the offspring of the other couple. The civilised harmony that sets the scene early on quickly descends into unpleasan ...more
Jan 18, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: BBC Radio Listeners

Description: What happens when two sets of parents meet up to deal with the unruly behaviour of their children? A calm and rational debate between grown-ups about the need to teach children how to behave properly? Or does it turn into a night of name-calling, tantrums and tears?

Lenny Henry stars in Yasmina Reza's play, translated by Christopher Hampton, which won a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Comedy with its London West End Production and Tony for Best
Sep 05, 2012 rated it liked it
"You see, Veronique, I believe in the god of carnage. He has ruled, uninterruptedly, since the dawn of time." - Alain

It has been an enduring quality of humanity to be always just one step away from violence and barbarity. As The Joker once said in The Dark Knight, "Madness, as you know, is like gravity. All it takes is a little push." It is no wonder then that even the most stoic of individuals can be reduced to a Neanderthal if the said individual's is pushed in the right way. So long dignified
May 22, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was really disappointed by this play. It doesn't move, there is no resolution and doesn't seem to have a point. I felt like I wasted my time reading it. I have no idea how in the name of all that is theatrical that this piece has been nominated as Best New Play of the year by the Tony committee. I don't care how well it's directed or performed the piece itself is atrocious. Save your money-don't read it and don't see it!
Leo Robertson
Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Loved this one! Devolves fascinatingly, big scope :)
Jun 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: saw-it-onstage, drama
An excerpted GChat conversation with a friend about God of Carnage:

Karen: speaking of plays-- god of carnage is not that good. there, i said it.

Allan: oh man, why do you say so? I had a blast with that one
it is rather bleak
and it could have been shorter
because I think the point gets made about 50 min in

Karen: but the play itself is a one-trick pony, and i feel like it's the same thing as Race, Clybourne Park, etc.
what happens when you put a bunch of white middle-class people in a room and
Sep 05, 2011 rated it it was ok
I'm going to sound like such a snob but this play left me so unsatisfied. It felt like Albee-lite, with no real purpose or resolution to the unfolding chaos. The characters never evolved beyond their established archetypes and the stereotypical markers of power and gender (men are brutes and like war! Women are bitches!) didn't evolve to give us any deeper insight other than "Adults can be so childish." I imagine it would be very entertaining to see performed, and I must keep in mind how differe ...more
Apr 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
This is what you'd get if "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" kinda sucked.
Definitely want to see this one on stage. (I know if the movie, but I really want to see this in the theater.)
Sep 07, 2009 rated it liked it
Yasmina Reza’s short play “The God of Carnage” is a fascinating, character-driven piece sprinkled with elements of absurdity. In many ways it is akin to Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” only the fighting between the characters in “Carnage” isn’t as pointed as it is in “Woolf,” but rather like that of a child who flails trying desperately to land a hit. The tension between the four characters is palpable on the page and I would be so interested to see what a corps of strong actors would ...more
Elizabeth A
Oct 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, plays
I really liked the movie Carnage, which was an adaptation of this play, so decided to go to the source material. This short play is a wonderful read, and works best if read on one or two sittings.

I'd suggest not reading the blurbs on this one before picking it up. All you really need to know is that the play is about two sets of parents who meet to deal with the behavior of their children. The entire play unfolds during this one meeting. To say more would spoil it for you, so I'll stop there.
Jan 13, 2019 marked it as abandoned
Actually finished it, but it’s not only a script for a play, but it’s a rather short one at that, so I’m not counting it as a “book” I’ve read. I’d like to see the play some day, and maybe I’ll try out the movie too.

Kinda liked it, but I’m not at all used to reading scripts.
Apr 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
Very good if you like this kind of thing--plays about adults behaving badly. As usual LA Theatre Works puts out an excellent recording.
Feb 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie
From BBC Radio 4 - Drama:
What happens when two sets of parents meet up to deal with the unruly behaviour of their children? A calm and rational debate between grown-ups about the need to teach children how to behave properly? Or does it turn into a night of name-calling, tantrums and tears?

Lenny Henry stars in Yasmina Reza's play, translated by Christopher Hampton, which won a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Comedy with its London West End Production and Tony for Best Play on Broadway.
The author
Sep 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
I'm adding a star to this review as I just saw the play and think it does better on stage than it does on the page. This may, of course, be universally true of all good plays (there are some bad ones that make excellent reading), but this play in particular requires a fair amount of physical byplay and nonverbal interaction. It's a good read, either way, and that's what this site is all about. Note: the less expensive acting edition follows the American practice of changing the French names of p ...more
Nov 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Two couple come together for the purpose of having a "civilized discussion" about an act of violence that occurred between their sons. But what, finally, is "civilization"? Is it a mere sham? Or, although real, does it carry us away from our natural human impulses? Does civilization resolve anything in the end?

How does the behavior of "grownups" differ from the rough schoolyard savagery of children? Are they the same? And do the formalities of the former merely disguise the brutality of the latt
Apr 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
This play blows up wonderfully. It's an afternoon's conversation between two couples, one of whose son has battered the other about the mouth with a stick on the playground. What emerges is an often hilarious bit of madness as the couples degenerate into various petulant, childish, and violent behaviors themselves. Plenty to say about violence, the will to resist violence, personal responsibility, white guilt, and above all the degree to which we are one another's keepers. I'd love to see a prod ...more
Nov 24, 2017 rated it liked it
The more I've read and seen this play (I've been working on a production of it this week), it's grown on me, but I don't know if that's just how our actors have played it off. There are still points where I feel the dialogue takes an unnatural leap from one topic to another - one minute, they're sniping at each other and then the next they're preparing to leave again. Not the most flowing of plays, therefore, but there are elements of humour and a great weaving of various plots/discussion points ...more
Mateen Manek
Aug 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't stop reading; this play was truly a page turner. The characters were interesting and captivating, and the whole scenario started off simple and had other things just drag into it. The writing was great (and considering this is a translation, it's still comes across strong). It was a very short play, but was honestly great. I hope to see it live one day.

They use some foreign words for deserts and such, which makes it harder to visualize. Luckily you kind of get the gist of that.

RH Walters
Mar 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
A crackling play with sharp teeth and spiraling tension. Well-drawn characters politely discussing their children's schoolyard brutality explodes into dismal insights on marriage, genocide, sex and violence. Scathing and cynical yet funny.
Diane L. Lupton
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
read for the theme - a play
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Vel Veeter
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cbr-10
This is a very funny and weird and good play completely ruined by Roman Polanski’s adapting it. The casting was even great…Jodie Foster, John C Reilly, Kate Winslet, and Christoph Waltz….that’s five Oscars right there, plus Roman Polanski adding another.

So anyway! I was mad because I otherwise would have watched it, but knowing that I would have been too distracted by the associations I couldn’t.

So I read it. In the play, two sets of parents living in New York are meeting after a playground inci
Mar 29, 2019 rated it liked it
As someone who does a fair bit of theater, I’m left wondering how you stage this show. Not the set, which is really easy but the on-cue vomiting. I’m not sure I’d audition for that part, even if I were the correct demographic for it.

But besides that, I think this would be a fun play to be in. The talking goes all over the place emotionally (so fun!) and even physically. The devolving of civility as the play progresses and the shifting alliances on various topics really mean the performers get to
Pauline  Butcher Bird
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I saw this play performed in London and it was very funny, witty and wonderfully acted. Reading it is not quite as satisfying but it is good to study how these two couples, who start off amenably discussing their respective teenage sons' fight during which one lost two teeth and the other is charged as a bully. Needless the say the parents come to loggerheads too. I understand in the film, it switches to the two boys at the end who have sorted their differences and are friends again. Perfect iro ...more
Lindsay Wilson
Jul 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: plays
I missed this one when our community theatre put it on last year because I refused to see something that I knew had multiple vomiting scenes. But I'd heard it was good, and apparently our production was well done, so I still wanted to read it. And indeed, it is pretty good, though maybe a bit heavy-handed at times. The parents spiraling into juvenile behaviour happens so quickly and their efforts to remain civil are pretty funny (I was especially tickled by the dark comedy that is everything wit ...more
Si Squires-Kasten
Aug 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: plays
This play never became what I wanted it to be. The setup has so much potential - two bourgeois couples confront the violence underlying their society when one child strikes another - but the play doesn't push its insights past a broken vase or a slur. Moments in the second half feel like unintentional homage to The Exterminating Angel - that is to say, there's no reason why Alain and Annette don't just up and leave. I wish this was a Pinter play or an Albee play, but Yasmina Reza isn't as cruel ...more
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Yasmina Reza began work as an actress, appearing in several new plays as well as in plays by Molière and Marivaux. In 1987 she wrote Conversations after a Burial, which won the Molière Award for Best Author. Following this, she translated Kafka's Metamorphosis for Roman Polanski and was nominated for a Molière Award for Best Translation. Her second play, Winter Crossing, won the 1990 Molière for B ...more
“Ci sono uomini indolenti, sono fatti così, altri che non vogliono perdere un solo attimo di tempo, e si danno da fare, che differenza c'è? Gli uomini si agitano fino a quando non muoiono.” 2 likes
“La coppia è la prova più terribile che Dio possa affliggerci.” 0 likes
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