Tag Archives: Yasmina Reza

God of Carnage Wordle

God of Carnage

In a post a couple of weeks ago I mentioned the new play I’ll be in, and now I’m going full out with some shameless self-promotion: come see my play; it opens on Friday, July 10!

The play we’re doing is God of Carnage by French playwright Yasmina Reza. Reza’s play won a Tony in 2009 and was adapted for film by Roman Polanski in 2011. The characters have been played by Ralph Fiennes, Ken Stott, Tamsin Greig, and Janet McTeer;  James Gandolfini, Jeff Daniels, Marcia Gay Harden, and Hope Davis; John C. Riley, Christoph Waltz, Jodie Foster, and Kate Winslet. So the bar has been set pretty damned high.

It’s a funny, brutal, and smart play, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it. I play Annette, a mother whose child has hit his schoolmate. I’ve brought my husband to apologize to the parents of the injured child, and the four of us have a…conversation. Of sorts. The pace is fast, the play is only about eighty minutes, and we volley the insults and aggressions back and forth like nasty little grenades.

Our cast, from Left: Michael (Jay Geller), Veronica (Shannon Mayhall), Annette (me!), and Alan (Patrick Thompson) -- Photo Credit Brian Bieschke

Our cast, from left: Michael (Jay Geller), Veronica (Shannon Mayhall), Annette (me!), and Alan (Patrick Thompson) — Photo Credit Brian Bieschke

God of Carnage is the inaugural production for The Black Box Summer Theatre at McHenry County College. Typically, the college produces shows during the fall and the spring semesters, but the space is dark over the summer. This year, though, we’re lighting it up!

God of Carnage at MCC

The director, Kellee Stall, is the founder of Inhabit Theater Company, a company that “makes its stage wherever [they] go: empty houses for sale, warehouses, coffee shops and local businesses.” Kellee directed Our Town at MCC in March 2013, so we already knew that she was talented. Working with her has proven that she works just as well with a small cast as she does with a large one, and as well with an American classic as with a contemporary work.

Kellee gives us post-rehearsal notes

Kellee gives us post-rehearsal notes: Photo Credit Kate Curtin

This week we’re in promotion mode: we were featured in today’s Northwest Herald, and tomorrow we’re taping an interview for the 2 Dudes and The Duchess radio show.

Northwest Herald

Northwest Herald “Play” Section — please notice we’re sharing space with Channing Tatum.

NW Herald Play Inside 7.2.15

You might have noticed that the picture in the paper features three of the four cast members, and that I’m missing. I was kind of bummed about it, so I decided to make a quick adjustment:

There I am! With my nephew Leo, who won't be in the play, but is super cute.

There I am! With my nephew Leo, who won’t be in the play, but is super cute.

Opening night is next Friday (July 10), so get your tickets now (now!):

  • Friday, July 10 and Saturday, July 11, 7 p.m.
  • Friday, July 17 and Saturday, July 18, 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, July 19, 2 p.m.

Call 815.455.8746 or email jgeller[at]mchenry[dot]edu for tickets (only $12, what a steal!)

Screen and Stage

On Tuesday, June 2, Trevor and I went to Midwest Independent Film Festival “First Tuesday” show at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema in Lincoln Park.

This month’s showing was a celebration of female filmmakers, and our friend Cristen Leifheit was featured in the program. Of course we had to go to support Cristen, cheer on her amazing animated short film, Power(less), and check out what some other female filmmakers in the Midwest are up to.

Turns out, they’re up to a lot of good stuff:


Cristen’s film was the only animated short on the agenda (and can I say it was the best one on the agenda? [oh, guess what? It was the best one on the agenda. BAM! I just said it]) and it was terribly exciting to see it on the big screen.

Here are some of the gang during the pre-show cocktail hour:

Cristen and her mom, Laura

Cristen and her mom, Laura

The disembodied heads of female filmmakers!

The disembodied heads of female filmmakers!

All of you should check out Cristen’s website for more of her work — she’s pretty much the best.

The weirdest part of the evening happened as we were walking into the theater. I ran into these adorable faces greeting the festival-goers:

Those two cuties are Emily and Matthew, students at MCC! (kwhat?! I know, weird, right??) They’d volunteered to be ushers for the event, and I loved seeing them, randomly and fifty miles out of my usual school context.

Emily and Matthew segue nicely into the stage portion of this post, because the two young actors appeared in MCC’s Spring 2015 production of columbinus. Some of you might remember that I helped out with the props for this show, and I was proud to be a part of such an interesting and thoughtful production.

And next month, I’ll be a part of another school production, the first summer show in MCC’s history (someone fact check that; I don’t know if it’s accurate…): God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza.

God of Carnage at MCC

My character, Annette, has previously been played by Hope Davis (in the Tony Award-winning 2009 production) and Kate Winslet (in the Roman Polanski film version). So that’s freaking me out. And it’s actually scarier than filling Liza Minnelli’s shoes when I did Cabaret last year. I don’t know how this is possibly scarier than Cabaret, but it is.

We’ve been rehearsing for almost four weeks now, and all is going well. It’s a terrific play with a lightening fast pace, which makes memorizing lines a little tricky, but the four of us are doing well. Kellee Stall of Inhabit Theater is directing this show, and the crew — many familiar people from Cabaret — are kicking ass in the creativity and helpfulness departments.

God of Carnage Table Reading

Pre-rehearsal chats

Pre-rehearsal chats

Getting into character with Crazy Helium Booth

Getting into character with Crazy Helium Booth

Jay gets comfy on the set during break

Jay gets comfy on the set during break

I’ll have more about the show as we get a bit closer, but mark your calendars for the second and third weekends in July — and you’re all welcome to spend the night at Camp Crystal Lake (maybe not all of you…).

Come back on Monday for a new post about our Lake Projects Summer Writing Group. Until then, have a lovely weekend!