The University of Wyoming’s Snowy Range Summer Theatre program was curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of the UW campus, but one play will be brought to the virtual stage next week.
“God of Carnage,” a 2009 comedy written by Yasmina Reza, is scheduled to stream live online at 7:30 p.m. June 23-27.
Tickets are $5 and available at www.uwyo.edu/finearts. Instructions for accessing the performance will be provided upon purchase. “Pay-what-you-can” access can be arranged by calling the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts box office at 766-6666.
Under the direction of UW graduate Jason Pasqua, who now leads the theater program at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne, “God of Carnage” follows two couples in an upper-class neighborhood as they attempt to mediate a playground fight between their two sons. As the evening wears on, however, the once-civilized meeting devolves into childishness and chaos.
“We want to entertain the audience from the comfort of their own homes, but also do a great piece of literature that can provoke some thought as well, which is what good theater should be doing,” Pasqua said.
He said the meeting begins to fall apart as the characters let down their guard and surprise themselves with unexpected frankness.
“We get the impression that things for a long time have been left unsaid, and now it’s coming out all of a sudden, and it’s not pretty,” he said. “In short, we all probably need to be a little more honest with each other.”
Cast members include UW students Mary Dyson, Justen Glover, Andrew Thornton and Lauren Asher. Artistic director Scott Tedmon-Jones secured streaming rights for the play, which had been chosen for production before the COVID-19 pandemic and associated closures.
“It is not what we had originally planned, but we are gratified to be able to support a company of actors, designers, crew and director, and to provide some entertainment and laughs to the community in this time of uncertainty,” Tedmon-Jones said.
Pasqua said it’s hard to replace the magic of live theater, but the production’s audio and video team has given him and the actors new ways to tell the story.
“If you look at it as the same job but with different tools in the tool box, you can have a pretty good time,” he said.