Backyard Renaissance Announces The Cast of Yasmina Reza's GOD OF CARNAGE

The play goes inside a very small, personal encounter between two sets of parents after a violent playground interaction between their children.

By: Feb. 07, 2023
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Backyard Renaissance Announces The Cast of Yasmina Reza's GOD OF CARNAGE

In 2015, Backyard Renaissance's (BYR) first production out-of-the-gate was very much a couple-thing. Helmed by Director Lisa Berger and starring her husband Mike Sears, BYR founders, husband-and-wife team Francis Gercke and Jessica John, produced and co-starred in the production of Jez Butterworth's Parlour Song.

Now, Gercke and John return to the stage with another dazzling theatre duo in Yasmina Reza's Tony-Award-winning God of Carnage. The blistering comedy of bad manners will co-star married couple Keiko Green and MJ Seiber, Seattle/Los Angeles transplants who are becoming regular San Diego theatre fixtures. The show is headed by esteemed director Rob Lutfy (former Cygnet Theatre associate director) and will be performed at Tenth Avenue Arts Center between March 2nd and March 25th (Thursdays through Sundays) with previews offered from March 2nd through March 10th.

God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza (translated by Christopher Hampton) explores big ideas through the lens of a very small, personal encounter between two sets of parents after a violent playground interaction between their children. The Broadway production exploded onto the stage in 2009 with an all-star cast that included James Gandolfini, Marcia Gay Harden, Hope Davis and Jeff Daniels. Originally expected to run for a short period of time, the show was extended several times before it was eventually converted to an open-ended run. The power-house roles earned all four actors Tony nominations (with Harden winning one) and the play itself won the 2009 Tony Award for Best Play. Other well-known actors who took over the roles in the Broadway extension included Christine Lahti, Jimmy Smits, Annie Potts, Janet McTeer, Dylan Baker, and Lucy Liu.

Backyard Renaissance's God of Carnage will star real-life couples Francis Gercke and Jessica John, along with MJ Sieber and Keiko Green. The couples will swap spouses for the production with Gercke and Green playing the Raleighs and John and Sieber playing the Novaks. Rob Lufty is directing the edgy one-act with a group he knows well.

Keiko Green was most recently seen in San Diego in Cygnet Theatre's production of The Great Leap, directed by Lutfy, and will follow her performance in Carnage with the world premieres of two plays penned by Green: Exotic Deadly: Or the MSG Play at The Old Globe in April, and Sharon at Cygnet Theatre in June. MJ Seiber was most recently in San Diego as 'Vanya' with Cygnet Theatre's production of Life Sucks by Aaron Posner and directed by Lufty, and will return to Cygnet following Carnage, to appear in Green's premiere production of Sharon, again helmed by Lutfy. Francis Gercke was directed by Lutfy at Cygnet Theatre in another Posner crowd-pleaser - Stupid F***ing Bird.

"Working with another twosome, who gets all the humor and madness of being a theatre-couple is ridiculously fun, especially in this show specifically," explained John. "Keiko and MJ came to the auditions, and the minute they walked into the room it was very much a 'yes - this' moment. The couples in Carnage are so true and terrible and hilarious, and recognizable too. There's something hysterical about looking across at your spouse and thinking 'remember when we got like this and how much we wanted to kill each other?' It adds to the humor and to the honesty."

God of Carnage playwright Yasmina Reza is a French dramatist, novelist, director, and actress best known for her brief satiric plays that speak to contemporary middle-class anxieties. She received acclaim for her first two plays but it was Art, which premiered in 1994 about three friends quarrelling over a work of modern art, that brought Reza wide notice. The play appeared on major stages worldwide, winning Molière Awards for best author, play, and production; a British Laurence Olivier Award for best comedy; and a Tony Award for best play. Reza continued to receive high praise for additional works including Life × 3 in 2000 and God of Carnage which made its London debut in 2008 (subsequently winning a Laurence Olivier Award), and opened on Broadway one year later, earning a Tony Award for best play.

God of Carnage will be performed at Tenth Avenue Arts Center. The show runs March 2nd through March 25th (Thursdays through Sundays) with on Press Opening Saturday, March 11th and a special Industry Night Performance on Monday, March 20th, 2023.

For more information regarding Backyard Renaissance Theatre Company, or to purchase tickets, please visit


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