What begins with civility breaks down into childish arguments as Central Texas College students perform “God of Carnage,” a dark satire by French playwright Yasmina Reza, at 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday.

“God of Carnage” follows two sets of parents, the Raleighs and the Novaks, who meet to discuss the problem of the Raleighs’ son hitting the Novaks’ son on the playground.

“One thing leads to another, and it spirals out of control,” said director James Salter. “It’s a very adult-themed play. It’s got a little bit of language.”

CTC’s theater department has worked on the show for about six weeks — rehearsing and turning the traditional stage into a thrust stage.

The design of the addition, as well as choices made for the set and costumes, were an effort to incorporate elements of a boxing ring into the stage, Salter said. “It’s been great fun.”

Students were in charge of most of the production, from light and sound design to set building and operations during the show.

“I enjoyed building,” said Robert Mason, technical director. “It’s fun to bring something put on paper to life.”

The actors, on the other hand, experienced a challenge with their roles.

As none of the four students are married or parents, they did a lot of research to prepare for their roles — some even studying their parents.

“It’s difficult playing characters twice our age who have children,” said Ryan Campbell, who plays Michael Novak. “It’s hard to project that kind of emotion when you don’t know where it comes from.”

The cast even wore fake wedding rings for weeks prior to the opening to get accustomed to not fiddling with them.

Kelly Marolf, who plays Veronica Novak, described the action of the play as “a slap in the face of married couples,” but also an opportunity for them to laugh at themselves.

“It gives an opportunity for those who view it to see their own monsters and the masks they use,” said Jordan Brinkman, who plays Alan Raleigh.

“God of Carnage” will be performed at Lady Bird Johnson Auditorium, building 112, on the CTC campus. It is recommended for adult audiences, but free child care is provided. Proceeds benefit the Joe Russo Scholarship Fund.

Contact Audrey Spencer at aspencer@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7476

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