Reality show producers can only dream about the onslaught of carnage coming to Sequim.
The worst of upperclass civility unravels this week in the black comedy “God of Carnage,” a Tony-Award-winning play by Yazmina Reza, at Olympic Theatre Arts. It runs April 17-May 5.
The actors portray two sets of parents: Michael and Veronica Novak, played by Mark Valentine and Laura Eyestone, host Alan and Annette Raleigh (Philip Young and Charisa Silliman) — in an attempt to settle some differences after their two boys are caught in an altercation.
“It’s four people trying to be civilized but turns out not be so civilized,” director Olivia Shea said.
“As they start talking about their sons they realize things about their own relationships.”
Eyestone, who plays Veronica, a strong independent woman who finds no fault with her son, said the play unravels for the characters at several points.
“It’s subtle and polite at first, but from the get-go you understand there is going to be some conflict,” she said. “People begin to show their true opinions.”
She particularly butts heads with the opposite couple’s strong personality, Alan Raleigh, an attorney.
Young finds his character is driven and oblivious to others around him, including his second trophy wife, played by Silliman.
“There are many tensions and conflicts with every possible juxtaposition between each character,” Young said.
Objects will fly, people will flail and unexpected things will happen.
“From the beginning of the play, there will be some surprises,” Eyestone said.
“God of Carnage” takes things to the extreme often but the actors find there is a lot of connection for an audience.
“This play takes things over the top that do indeed happen in social occasions where one person expresses frustration over another, but it never goes this far,” Young said.
“Imagine (this play) as going to a party where all the people lost their brakes on their brains.”
The extremes are a necessity, Young said, as it serves as a caricature, blowing up situations to the large and obvious.
“Sometimes we have a thought and we hold back, but then we think what would happen if we shared that. It shows another side, if we didn’t hold back,” he said.
Their foul language and loss of manners creates some uncomfortable humor that Young said might make people uneasy until they find permission to laugh.
“There will be some nervous laughter. It’s darkly funny, almost absurdly funny,” he said. “There will be times where people recognize some of themselves or their frustrations.”
Eyestone agrees. “We are all capable of losing control and finding ourselves in over our head,” she said.
But the takeaway, she said, is that there isn’t just one side to a story.
This play’s depth is what brought Eyestone back to acting. She’s been wanting to work with Shea for a long time and found the script excellent.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a play and when I read this play and saw this character, it was worth me being too busy to do,” she said.
“If I was going to come back to plays after 15 years, this is it.”
A lot is required of the actors, strained voices from yelling, jumping and stomping and yet they love it.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Young said.
Through the 90-minute, nonstop play, actors learn plenty about themselves and each other.
“I think people are going to see themselves in the situations. It’s going to be easy enough to connect with any one of the characters in a number of ways,” Eyestone said.
For more information, visit olympictheatrearts.org or call 683-7326.