Irreverent comedy of manners

Black humour

A drawing room setup, two amicable set of parents and a whirlwind of thoughts that open up a gamut of emotions and fights. School time fights could have such repercussions?

Well, on second thoughts, they could. Encapsulated into a 90-minute-long play, God of Carnage, translated and directed by Nayana Sagar, this black comedy lays bare every facet of human emotions by taking down the masks these four characters camouflage behind.

Translating Yasmina Reza’s 2009 Tony award winning play, succinctly defined as a comedy of manners with no manners, this version places us, seemingly, in a posh neighbourhood of Paris with a Punjabi couple in it! That’s what sends the audience in a tizzy. To explain it, Nayana, the director, tells us, “Yasmina Reza is very particular about translations of her plays, therefore I could not change a lot of things. So, I thought of placing a Punjabi couple in the play so that the Delhi audience could instantly connect with it.”

Set out to discuss a minor altercation between their sons, Michel, Veronique, Alain and Annette meet over to settle a trivial dispute. It was Alain and Annette’s son who broke Michel and Veronique’s son’s two incisors. With a moral advantage over the culpable set of parents, Michel and Veronique don an aura of reasonability and fair-mindedness, while Annette appears apologetic in the first half, though her husband defies any
such pretence.

Well, this does not last long as the two sides confront and look down upon each other’s parenting. Does that end there? It goes on to the extent that the unrealistically civilised Rony (Veronique, the Punjabi mother) calls Annette’s son, a threat to national security, Annette goes into a tirade against her corporate lawyer husband’s never-endingly buzzing phone and the two men get pally remembering how boys always have gangs and how they are eternal goondas, almost switching sides over the course of play.

What comes as a crucial juncture for turning around of tables is the point when Annette pukes out on their drawing room table and the two couples start shedding their masks one after another, almost to the extent of deconstructing their created selves. Punched with Punjabi banter and Alain’s  nonchalance, the play takes you for a ride where tranquillity transforms into a maelstrom, drowning into the sound of Kabir’s couplet in the end.

Watching the film adaptation of this play, Nayana got inspired to bring it forth for Delhiites. Speaking about it to Metrolife, she says, “Yasmina’s work as an author always plays upon the subtexts of the original plot. She takes perfectly normal characters who suddenly turn abnormal under pressure.” Uncovering the layers of these characters through her translated play, Nayana gave Delhiites a taste of an internationally renowned play.

Comments (+)