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Scot Augustson

Must agree completely.
AND, those odd, lazy, local references and the bizarre non - Seattle architecture were a glaring reminder that the whole tone of the piece feels East Coast. The Rhythms and vocabulary were not west coast. And, I couldn't tell whether it was supposed to be an apartment or a house. Which makes a huge difference. Wealthy people with kids in this region don't opt to live in apartments, as they do in NYC. And then I was like, "Is this supposed to be the East Side?" But that brings up even more problems.

Paul Mullin


I went with Tom Paulson, who you'll recall is the reporter who co-produces NewsWrights United's Living Newspaper with Dawson and me. It was his first fancy-pantsed Rep opening and he seemed genuinely confused and shaken by it. At one point he turned to me and whispered, "Why are all these people laughing?" Before I could even think of something clever to answer, I blurted out the truth: "Stockholm Syndrome."

Jeremy M. Barker

You know, Reza's French. The play was originally set in Paris, I'm pretty sure, which means New York manages to localize better than Seattle, too. Double-slam.

Scot Augustson

Jeremy: I love me some Paris. I do think Paris is more like NY than Seattle. There's a much brisker pace in both those cities.But it does bring up the question for this and other shows: why localize? Do we really think that cities don't have a local style/culture?
Paul: I am always amazed at what gets the big laughs and the Ooooh's when I'm at the Big Houses. For some reason the audience the night I saw it had this HUGE reaction when the husband filled his wife's glass to the rim with Rum.


From the description, this sounds much more Bellevue than Seattle - not that that matters a great deal in the context you describe, but I wouldn't be in the least bit surprised to see an apartment like that - showroom pristine to the point that it's inconceivable any actual human beings live in it - in some new high-rise condo development on the Eastside, as Scot suggests.

Which may, at least in part, explain why some people in the audience found it so funny - I'll bet there are plenty of aspiring-to-be-upwardly-mobile folks over there who constantly attempt to delude themselves into thinking they live in "New York West".

Jeremy M. Barker

Ah! I did some research...doesn't look like it's ever played Paris. It premiered in London, but none of the reviews from the UK mention if it takes place in London or Paris. The names, however, were Gallic in London, but Americanized in the New York production, so I tend to thing the London production was set in France while the American one set it in NYC.

Here's an interesting NY Times article, for what it's worth, on the representations of New York apartments you see on New York stages:

Paul Mullin

Scot, the audience last night had the same "oooh-dangerous" reaction to wife filling her glass to the very brim. In my house, we call that a weeknight. The entire feel of the audience was that of a sitcom shill crowd. Hence, the phrase "funny as Frasier" above is not necessarily meant as a compliment.

Jeremy, thanks as always for doing the the professional legwork that I am entirely too lazy and petulant to do for myself.

Chris, if I had to live in the apartment shown onstage last night I'd kill myself.

Also, on a small note of contemptuous nitpicking, as a stay-at-home dad who regularly took a barf bath courtesy of his infant son, the fact that all four ostensible parents would throw such a poop-fit over some vomit spewing is frankly incredible.

Brian Faker

Hey Paul,
If you're not busy later this afternoon, would you find this "critic" and murder it? Thanks.

Paul Mullin

What can I tell you, Brian? I think Ms. Squartsoff has violated the canon against self-slaughter without my help when she writes a line like:

"What also made this theatrical masterpiece so creative and well produced is how the play was slightly arranged to be set in Seattle. God of Carnage is a play that has been produced by many theaters all over the globe so interestingly, tiny changes are made according to what country or city the play is produced in."

"So creative"

"So interestingly"

Who could add murder to that?

Scot Augustson

And, I don't remember if the play mentions how long they've been living in that place,specifically if the (unseen) children were toddlers there, but Christ on a Crutch, that spiral staircase would be the death of a kid learning to walk.
Oh, and, why is the only bathroom up a flight and a half?
And and and...sorry, I'll stop.

Tom Paulson

I'm new to theatre (or is it theater?) and I probably enjoyed the play more than Paul did. It was very thought-provoking, though maybe not in the direction intended by the playwright. I kept wondering why people were laughing, at the predictable dialogue or sitcom slapstick stuff. The projectile vomiting reminded me of Team America, only it wasn't nearly as funny. I guess the point of this play is ... that we should embrace chaos? I don't know. I'm new to theatre, as I said, so I just liked being there.

Brian Faker

Thanks for your sophistical response, Paul. It was so interestingly.

Paul Mullin

This from my colleague S. P. Miskowski (She had some problems getting the blogging tool to accept her comment. It happens sometimes. Sorry, S. P.)

"Re: my comment

Here you go. With love.

"Emerald City" is my new play. It's about Seattle. It's set in Seattle. I'm a 20-year veteran of Seattle theater. So if you want to compare my play to the faux Seattle play, join us at one of the readings this month. The first one will offer excerpts from the play (as part of Arts Crush) at 15th Ave Coffee and Tea on Saturday October 23rd at 5 PM. The second reading will present the entire play at 7 PM on Tuesday October 26th at the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI). My wonderful director is Meghan Arnette and our fabulous cast consists of Jennifer Pratt, Tina Rowley, Morgan Rowe and Shawnmarie Stanton. Big love to you, Seattle, and to Live Girls! Theater."

Jim Jewell

You were ahead of your time, sir. Every review I have read has commented, negatively, on trying to set this play in Seattle/Bellevue.

Paul Mullin

Thanks, Jim. I guess that's gratifying to know.

I am delighted and eager to be ahead of my time in all things, with the notable exception of dying.


Give this a peruse if you're interested, my dear sir (but bracket the Rep production and imagine the script on its own): http://blog.seattlerep.org/?p=940.

Reza, Rodney King, and WH Auden mash up.

Louise Penberthy

I saw the New York production in May 2009, and I had the same reaction that I had during this production here.

Why are people laughing??

Why does no one besides me seem to realize that Emperor Reza has no clothes??

So much talent wasted on such a sucky script. And this won the Tony! If they're looking for sucky scripts to produce, I have several they can choose from... ;)


Jeremy is right. The play was translated from French. Also, I thought the Broadway show took place in a brownstone in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. (basically the new Upper West Side.)

I'm a little insecure about this subject, as I'm a New Yorker who has written two plays that take place in a fictional small town in Washington State. (I grew up in Kitsap County.)

Louise Penberthy

@ Josh

The Broadway show did take place in Brooklyn. The park was Cobble Hill Park.

P.S. I've also written two plays that take place in a fictional small town in Washington State. Actually, three. ;)

Louise Penberthy

I'm late to this party, but:

"Why are all these people laughing?"

"Stockholm Syndrome."


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