Rebecca Lashmar and Shannon Pitre in the University Players production of “God of Carnage.”Rebecca Lashmar and Shannon Pitre in the University Players production of “God of Carnage.”

University Players to stage dark and riotously funny take on human nature

Next up at University Players is a production that will have audiences doubled over with laughter as a civilized meeting between two couples turns into chaos and confusion. God of Carnage opens Friday and runs through March 10 in the Hatch Studio Theatre, Jackman Dramatic Art Centre.

Written by Yasmina Reza and translated from the French by Christopher Hampton, the play follows two sets of parents as they meet to discuss the consequences of a recent event — one of their sons hitting the other in the face with a stick and damaging his teeth.

What begins as a polite discussion about how to proceed with reparations ends in disorder and drama as the couples descend into vicious and brutal attacks on one another.

It is a funny and insightful look into the cruel reality of marriage and human nature, says director Heather Davies.

A freelance theatre director, Davies returns to University Players after directing last season’s production of Love and Human Remains. She calls God of Carnage “wonderfully written…

“It’s funny, poignant, tragic, political, and as it progresses it continues to surprise the audience,” says Davies. “It’s fascinating to watch the debate played out between two married couples who pursue the innocence or guilt of children as though the outcome has international consequences.”

The show features set design by David Court and costume design by Agatha Knelsen, beautifully lit by designer Kirsten Watt. Court’s set echoes the bedlam on stage — a stark white background of household items and pieces of the furniture literally falling around the actors as they play out the scenes below.

All performances from Wednesday to Saturday start at 8 p.m. and matinées Saturday and Sunday are at 2 p.m. On Sunday, March 3, a “Talk Back” discussion with the actors will follow the performance. Find more information, including ticket prices, on the University Players website or phone the box office at 519-253-3000, ext. 2808.