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Four-member cast to bring ‘God of Carnage’ to life

Delighted to portray the complex character of Michael Novak in “God of Carnage,” Jack Allison will be one of four actors bringing the dark comedy to the Cartersville stage.

Opening Sept. 11 at 8 p.m., The Pumphouse Players’ production will be presented at The Legion Theatre, 114 W. Main St. The winner of the 2009 Tony Award for best play, “God of Carnage” exposes the true nature of two couples, which comes to light when discussing a playground incident between their children.

“The only simplicity that exists in Michael Novak lies only on the surface of the man,” Allison said. “Take Bob the Builder, add a traumatizing childhood divorce or two, a dash of alcoholism and you’ve got Michael Novak. He’s a fix-it man. Whether it’s a burst pipe or a dry conversation, Michael is the one to fix it, or so he’d tell you. What he wouldn’t tell you is that when tensions run high, the real Michael Novak will show his face.

“I was blown away by ‘God of Carnage’ the first time I read it. I think it’s very difficult to convey the real depth of the play when describing its plot to fresh ears. In a way, that further attributes to the brilliance of it; simple on the surface and cavernous beneath it, just like its characters. There are no heroes, martyrs or even good people in this show unless you’re observing it through the eyes of the people within it. The way I see it, Veronica, Annette and even Alan begin the show thinking that they’re righteous and end it with that same, albeit reconstructed, mindset. I see Michael as the exception to that. He’s depraved and he knows it and that’s the type of character that I love to explore.”

Following Sept. 11’s performance, “God of Carnage” will be performed Sept. 12, 18 and 19 at 8 p.m. and Sept. 13 at 3 p.m. Directed by Tony Thomasson, the play will feature Erin McCulley as Veronica Novak, Clay Johnson as Alan Raliegh, Alaina Wheelis as Annette Raliegh and Allison as Michael Novak.

“This is the first play that I have directed at The Pumphouse,” Thomasson said. “The offer to direct ‘God of Carnage’ seduced me. This script has won international awards. International stars have fought to appear in a production written by Yasmina Reza. The depth of the writing is deceptive and a challenge to master. The Cartersville audience is sophisticated. They are going to have a night of great theater on par with anything they could drive an hour and a half to Atlanta to be a part of.

“Irony is queen in this little story. The actors have to mine the dark sides of their tragic selves, but at the same time play the comedy with deft timing and a keen sense of rhythm. Just as ‘Seinfeld’ was about nothing, so is ‘God of Carnage” about nothing and clafouti — cla-foo-teè.”

Tickets for “God of Carnage” are $15 for general admission, $12 for PHP members and $10 each — when purchased online — for groups of at least 10 people. Due to adult language, the play is not recommended for theater patrons 16 and younger.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit http://pumphouseplayers.com or call 770-387-2610.