Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Dramaturgy of Carnage: Gareth Nicholls @ The Tron

TRON THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS 
GOD OF CARNAGE

THU 9 MAR – SAT 25 MAR 
This March Tron Theatre Company is delighted to present Yasmina Reza’s modern classic God Of Carnage, translated by Christopher Hampton.

Michel (Colin McCredie) and Véronique (Anita Vettesse) Vallon’s little boy has been hit in the park by Alain (Richard Conlon) and Annette (Lorraine McIntosh) Reille’s son. With the best of intentions, the grown-ups meet to discuss the matter in a calm and rational manner in Michel and Véronique’s comfortable bourgeois apartment.

It isn’t long, however, before the couples begin to get on each other’s nerves. As the evening progresses (and the rum is drunk), diplomatic civility makes way for all out conflict, leaving liberal principles, expensive flowers and half-digested food in tatters on the floor.




What was the inspiration for this performance?

I’d not read the play before Andy Arnold (Artistic Director of the Tron Theatre) gave it to me, but as soon as I did read it I thought it was special. It mixes of humour, personal politics and four fascinatingly flawed characters together into a show that has real bite and passion.

It holds a satirical mirror up to four middle-class bourgeois people and unveils the hypocrisy that lies at the heart of the way they view the world. You love to laugh at them by the end of the show - but at the same time - I think most people will recognize the tendency towards self-destruction that they all share – and as a director that’s a gift to work with theatrically.

How did you go about gathering the team for it?

Micheal-John McCarthy is a sound designer I’ve collaborated with a number of times. Most recently we’ve worked together on Into That Darkness, A Gamblers Guide To Dying and Tennentamongst others – so he was an obvious choice, he’s great, one of the best. Karen Tennent is designing set and Simon Wilkinson is on lights. I’ve not worked with either of them before but I’ve admired their work for a long time – so I’m excited to be working with them. And my cast are all top notch – their experience and quality speak for themselves. Its a great team.

How did you become interested in making performance in the first place - does it hold any particular qualities that other media don't have?

I’ve always been interested in live events – whether that was a sporting event, a music gig or a dance piece – and watching theatre in my late teens I was struck by how it could encapsulate so many art forms at once. That’s pretty thrilling – a medium that can fluidly use dance, film, music, animation and a whole host of other art forms to tell a story or explore an idea.

Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?

I tend to adapt my process depending on the play and people I’m working with. In saying that a key feature of my process is working from character outwards. It’s important we understand the characters – their drives, motivations, obstacles, attitudes – before building the rest of the production or working technically in any way.

God of Carnage is about two couples who are supremely confident in their views of the world. But slowly – as the evening progresses – their true feelings, drives and desires come to light in a hysterical and often unflattering way. Its about what’s not said as much as what is – and a lot of the work in the room will be about understanding what’s bubbling away underneath what’s presented on the surface.

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

This show is unashamedly entertaining. It’s fun, over the top and brash. Yet at the same time its an incredibly nuanced and intelligent piece that has a lot to say about the times we live in. I think audiences will recognize these characters and perhaps enjoying seeing their downfalls but I hope it will also make people think about their own politics and the way we all, to some degree, present a version of ourselves that might not necessarily be the entire truth.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

I try to make work that’s exciting first and foremost. Audiences want to be entertained, provoked in heart and mind and to leave feeling or thinking a little differently to the way they entered. I try to keep this at the front of my mind when directing. I use my own instincts, surround myself with brilliant collaborators and constantly ask questions of the work. Hopefully this all adds to the quality of the productions and the audience experience.

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?

I think my work stretches across a number of traditions depending of who and what I'm working with. My work with Gary McNair for example sits within a very different tradition or context to my work at the Citizens theatre. I’m sure there are some over-arching aesthetics or themes that tie all my work together -  but i try to leave it to others to say what they are.  


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