The Jig's Up, Yasmina Reza

Comments

1
So, I take it you don't like plays about people from a different culture or something?
2
I saw Gods at the dress rehearsal, for free even, and couldn't agree with you more. When my companion asked me to explain my distaste after the show I said, amongst other things, "It was basically like watching an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond set on a stage." And I kind of even LIKE that show sometimes.
3
Nothing mainstream was funny in the late nineties; things were too good.

'96-'99 is the Unfunny Valley of western culture (all props to Hanna).
4
I've not seen "Gods," but I saw the original Broadway production of "Art" with Alan Alda, Victor Garber and Alfred Molina.

And I couldn't agree with you more about Yasmina Reza. All the ideas in "Art" were not only pound-you-over-the-head obvious, but I felt like I'd seen every single thing in the play a zillion times before. Alda, Garber, and Molina were great, but the whole time I sat there wishing I was watching them in a better play.

Anyone who can't read the briefest synopsis of that play-- "a completely white painting causes three friends to fight about the nature of art"-- and can't immediately predict every single place the play goes with that idea has never, ever seen any real play, watched any movie or t.v. show, or read any real book, ever in his or her life. Hell, children raised in the wilderness entirely by wolves who had never encountered human language before could be given that synopsis and predict exactly where Reza goes with it. Tell your dog or cat it's a play about a completely white painting that causes a debate about art and they'll roll their eyes and tap out the entire plot with their tail in Morse code.
5
Unfortunately, there's a critical flaw in your post, Brendan - Charlie Sheen rules!
6
It's pretty disingenuous to compare the full theater of people (minus yourself) who were enjoying God of Carnage to the people who watch Two and a Half Men. One group are Seattle theater patrons. The other group are TV sitcom watchers. I don't think there's even much overlap between those two groups.

The play is basically the guilty pleasure of watching rich white snobs who over-parent their children being reduced to their most base form. The results might not be the most profound theater experience you've ever been to, but its still very enjoyable.
7
Not only did I attend last night's performance but somehow saw fit to bring 7 of my friends with me. I'm familiar with Reza only as associated with this play and with "Art".

During last night's performance, "slight" was the single word that kept resonating in me while I sat there unsmiling. I had a sense that, if directed differently, it might have been tweaked a bit more realistically. As it was, the cast was obviously going for laughs. Editing the text to replace references with "Met Market" and other Seattle locations pandered to a local audience's sense of seeming-importance.

I enjoyed watching the four actors, 3 of whom have brought me a lot of pleasure in the past, e.g. Hans in "The Iliad". I couldn't fault any of them. It was the script, I concluded. Slight, to say the most.
8
Dude(s), I frikken LOVE Charlie Sheen! And 2 1/2 Menses is just a great vehicle for him.
9
@kcrobinson: Seriously? People who go to the theatre don't watch sitcoms? I'd like to see your market research on that.
10
Brendan, this makes me feel so much better. Saw Art 8 years ago in London and thought it was a pile of crap--baffled by the rapturous reviews it got. Got sucked in by rave reviews, against my better judgment, to see God of Carnage in New York this spring. Decently acted by the name actors, but what a shitty, vapid, uninteresting play. Your post makes me believe in humanity again.
11
I adore sitcoms and the theater. I actually am shocked to find that I agree with Mr. Kiley about the script. I love the performers, the set, but man, the script was so thuddingly obvious that I couldn't enjoy the well honed antics onstage.
12
interesting...if you read the comments under the original NY Times review by Ben Brantley, most of them are negative as well.

More proof that the media annoits certain people for success for inexplicable reasons while the majority of the public could care less (ie, the Kardashians, Gossip Girl, Yasmina Reza)
13
I once saw "Defending the Caveman" for reasons I'd rather not go into. What boring generalities. "Women SHOP, that's all!" "Men want to watch the GAME". Blah blah blah. A 2/3 Moore audience lapped it up and howled all the way through, and I'm certain the playwright/performer has made a fortune from it over the years. God of Carnage isn't any deeper or more profound. And once again, the audience the night I went was hysterical with laughter. It's as though Reza thought "What if I dumbed down "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" to the level of a network sitcom?" Hate to see actors like some of the ones on stage wasted. Also, if you're going to bother to change some of the details to mention the Space Needle, etc., why not change some of the construction of the sentences which seem held over from a translation for the British stage?