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'God of Carnage' cast revels in play's chemistry

by: PHOTO BY: KYLIE WRAY - At the beginning of the show, Annette (Jessica Murray) and Alan (Brian Harcourt) listen intently as Veronica (Kelley Marchant) and Michael (Todd Hermanson) read their report of the altercation that happened between their 11-year-old sons.  “How many parents standing up for their children become infantile themselves?”

This line, delivered by Annette in “God of Carnage” by Yazmina Reza, and translated by Christopher Hampton, is a pretty good summary of the show, according to Jessica Murray, who will be take on the role of Annette in the play’s newest version.

New Century Players will present the winner of three Tony Awards at the Rex Putnam High School Blackbox Theater at 7:30 p.m. May 17, 18, 24, 25 and 31, and June 1, 6, 7 and 8; and at 2 p.m. May 19 and June 2.

by: PHOTO BY: KYLIE WRAY - Veronica (Kelley Marchant) serves clafouti, a dessert with pears and apples, to Annette (Jessica Murray) and Alan (Brian Harcourt). Director Kevin Yell says that eating and drinking throughout the show is another one of the challenges the four-person cast faces in God of Carnage. The play only has a cast of four — three of the roles are played by high school drama instructors in the area. Kelley Marchant teaches at Rex Putnam, Murray at West Linn, and Todd Hermanson at Tigard.

Both the director and the actors said it can be challenging and exciting to work in the same way that they ask their students to work.

“It’s been a great thing to share with them,” said Murray, whose students can’t wait to see her performance. “And it’s made me a better teacher.”

Instead of a large group of actors of varying ages and skill levels, director Kevin Yell gets to work with a small cast with years of experience. “We have a fully professional cast and it really shows,” Yell said. The cast size is one of the things that allows them to go deeper with the text.

“The technical aspects of the show are challenging,” said Brian Barcourt, the fourth and final member of the cast. Not wanting to give too much away, Yell explained that this show requires one very special effect.

But according to Yell, this play is the type that draws in actors regardless of the challenges. “This is the kind of play that makes actors say, ‘I don’t care if anyone comes, I just have to do the play,’ “ he said.

For Murray, it was the 2009 script that interested her. “The writing is fantastic,” she said.

Reza was born in Paris in 1959 to parents of Iranian, Hungarian, Jewish and Russian heritage. The first performance of her written “God of Carnage” was in Germany. The original version was retranslated by Hampton for a performance in London, and then translated once more by him for the New York performance. The script that Yell has been working with is the East Coast version.

For an international play like Reza’s “God of Carnage,” there are many levels on which it can be enjoyed. Not only will everyone relate to it in their own way, people will be able to engage with the characters and see themselves reflected in them, Yell said. “These sorts of plays don’t normally get brought to Clackamas County,” he said. “We’re very lucky the company can bring them out of Portland to a wider audience.”

However, Yell made clear that “God of Carnage” is for mature audiences, since the characters sometimes use offensive language.

Tickets: $18, $12 for students/seniors, are available online at NewCenturyPlayers.org.by: PHOTO BY: KYLIE WRAY - Michael (Todd Hermanson) goes off on a tirade as Annette (Jessica Murray) and Alan (Brian Harcourt) look on, taken aback.



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