The God of Carnage descends to Trindade

In O Deus da Carnificina [God of Carnage], the actors could be trapped in any room, akin to the Big Brother phenomenon translated into those horror flicks in which we expectantly wait to know who is going to be the last survivor of the “house”, or when the cannibalism scene will start. But no:  the two couples of this story willingly met each other in the home of one of them, leaving it after hours of social transgression. There is a morbid pleasure that forces them to stay, as if the living room where everything takes place was suddenly the perfect catharsis-inducing spot to strip themselves of all the habits piled up in years of “education”. Well, a spontaneous group therapy within a middle-class context.

The reason for the meeting? A violent happening occurred between their 11-year old children. As civilized people, individuals need to talk in order to pick the best approach for that situation. One needs to uncover responsibilities, allocate costs, declare regrets. What begins with the usual tea – the 5 o’clock tea, I believe – and a pie that, by mixing pear and apple, already indicates that the host does not have the same refined taste of the invitee, gradually and exponentially becomes a bain-marie carnage. Right after the first argument, the polished words are replaced by insults, and the diplomacy gives its place to the visceral discomfort of those stop attacking to withstand a defending position. A verbal clash is unleashed, in which the alcohol, the pride and the wounded egos keep inciting the fall of the masks, one by one. Urbanity is replaced by hostility, the sophistication by the grotesque. The initial confrontation between couples quickly gives place to the easy war of the sexes just to naturally stop at the “all against all”, every so typical of human selfishness. When the paint starts to crack, we see the actors stripped down to the core, and, much to our surprise! – they are all very similar and are alone.

In Diogo Infante’ staging of Yasmina Reza’s work (Le Dieu du Carnage, 2006), insightfully children never come to be part of the scene. Because we must not delude ourselves: this work is not about what the parents are able to stand up for in the name of their children. It is about the hypocrisy of human behavior. It could also be a caricature of the several kinds of education that are just claims of good manners and, when subjected to scrutiny, are devoid of any value. Finally, the characters remind me of the ones of Woody Allen, when they cling themselves to any mental strength, to flee from a feeling drenched in mediocrity. Like any good comedy, the interpretations can be many and the humour is guaranteed.

O Deus da Carnificina – which Roman Polanski turned into a worldwide famous work, with its movie adaptation in 2011 – will be on stage at Teatro da Trindade INATEL, until 29 April. Diogo Infante, Jorge Mourato, Patrícia Tavares and Rita Salema provide 90 minutes of continuous enjoyment.

Zara Ferreira is an architect living in Alfama, Lisbon. She was a researcher in the EWV_Visões Cruzadas dos Mundos [Crossed Visions of the Worlds], collaborated with the architecture studio Tetractys Arquitectos and participated in the Portuguese representation at the 14th International Exhibition of Architecture, Venice Biennale, 2014, also as copy-editor of the Journal Homeland-News from Portugal. From 2014 to 2018, she was general-secretary of Docomomo International (the International Committee for Documentation and Conservation of Buildings, Sites and Neighbourhoods of the Modern Movement) and co-editor of Docomomo Journal. Between Lisbon (IST) and Lausanne (EPFL), she's currently developing her PhD on preservation strategies of housing sites after the post WWII in Europe. In the spare time she dedicates herself to travelling, theatre, writing, photography and whatever the destiny offers her.

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