Simon Gleisner, director of our next production, talks about God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza, which runs from October 31, to November 4 at Stanley Halls
What attracted you to this particular play? It’s a bit different from your last SLT outing!
It may seem very different at first glance, but there is a common thread. My last outing was a classic British farce, and although God of Carnage is much darker, it is still very funny and (without giving anything away) does build to quite a climax. And one of the things I most love about theatre is making people laugh.
This play also really appealed to me as an actor, even though I’m not performing in it. I knew it would attract some great actors. And it has – I couldn’t have hoped for a stronger cast. The way they can deliver both the comedy and the pathos is a joy to watch.
Tell us a little about the themes of the play and the challenges the script presents.
The clue really is in the title, as the play is all about destruction. We see how fragile our carefully-constructed lives can be, and how easily they can be torn apart, particularly when they’re built on a load of bourgeois hypocrisy. The play wonderfully (and very wittily) peels back the layers of those paying lip service to liberal values, and shows us the darker and uglier side of humanity.
Drawing out the darker sides of the characters is great fun, but also quite scary for an actor. Everyone wants to be liked. But it can be a lot of fun to be nasty. And as you’ll see when you see the production, there are some technical challenges to overcome to really bring the God of Carnage into the theatre for the evening.
How do you think the audience will relate to the characters?
Well, I’m hoping that no-one will relate too closely to the characters, as they’re not really a very nice bunch of people! I’m sure they’ll recognise some of the characters though, and have found themselves in similarly awkward social situations.
Without wishing for any spoilers, how are you staging the play?
I’m trying to create a really intimate setting, which can be a challenge in a echoing Victorian hall. But I really want people to feel that they’re right in the heart of the action. That can be a bit intimidating for the actors, but I have such a superb cast that they’ll blow the audience away.
Rehearsal photographs by Simon Gleisner