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AtticREP off to ferocious start with ‘Carnage’

 AtticREP off to ferocious start with ‘Carnage’

  • Gloria Sanchez (from left), Renee Garvens, Rick Frederick and Andrew Thornton star in AtticRep's revival of "God of Carnage." Photo: Courtesy Siggi Ragnar
    Photo By Courtesy Siggi Ragnar
    Gloria Sanchez (from left), Renee Garvens, Rick Frederick and Andrew Thornton star in AtticRep’s revival of “God of Carnage.”

SAN ANTONIO — AtticREP, which took most of the past year off from performing to prep for its big move to the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, comes roaring back in ferocious form this week.

The company’s first production in its new digs is a reprise of “God of Carnage,” which it staged to terrific effect in 2012. The new staging, featuring most of the same actors and behind-the-scenes crew, is just as whip-smart and hilarious.

Yasmina Reza’s dark comedy centers on four parents whose sons have had an altercation which cost one a few teeth. Veronica (Gloria Sanchez-Molina) and Michael (Andrew Thornton), the parents of the victim, appear to be touchy-feely types; the mom presses for, among other things, a sincere apology that reflects that the 11-year-old aggressor understands what he has done and takes responsibility for his actions. Allen (Rick Frederick) and Annette (Renee Garvens) are a little slicker and harder-edged; Allen calls their son a “savage” and spends much of his time on his cell phone, dealing with a legal matter.

The couples begin their encounter with each person putting on his or her best concerned parent face. That starts to slip, though, when Veronica reveals that Michael had tossed their kids’ hamster — a creature he despised — out on the streets the night before. From there on, all four characters get progressively spikier and darker, and the polite discussion of the opening scene gives way to arguments and physical altercations. Allegiances shift with every revelation as they all become a little bit more honest about who they are and how they view one another.

The cast is uniformly marvelous. The actors capture the affection and aggravation that’s part of most long-term relationships. The tension that springs up between Veronica and Michael is particularly well-rendered.

Garvens is the sole newcomer to the cast, and she snaps neatly into place. She and Frederick have strong chemistry, and paint a vivid picture of their characters’ marriage.

Director Roberto Prestigiacomo opted to stage the piece in the round, a choice that pays off. When things get physical, the actors race about, making good use of every inch of Jeremiah Teutsch’s polished set.

The show is absolute must-see. It’s also selling quickly and has a short run, so those who want to see it need to act fast.

“God of Carnage” can be seen at 8 p.m. Thursday, 2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Carlos Alvarez Studio Theater at the Tobin Center, 100 Auditorium Circle. Tickets range from $18 to $28. They can be purchased on line at atticrep.org or by calling 210-999-8524.



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