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All in the Timing

a Short Play Festival
by David Ives

COMPANY : Onstage Atlanta, Inc. [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Onstage Atlanta, Inc. (Decatur) [WEBSITE]
ID# 2704

SHOWING : February 22, 2008 - March 22, 2008



All In The Timing by David Ives is a series of one acts, a different combination of which will be performed nightly. This is the first full endeavor involving the entire newly formed Artistic Company. So, reserve your tickets now to come and see the new direction that OnStage Atlanta is headed.

Director Barbara Cole Uterhardt
Director Michael Henry Harris
Director David Klein
Director Charlie Miller
Director Cathe Hall Payne
Director Barry N. West
Lighting Designer Harley Gould
Cast Kelsey Bailey
Cast Barbara Cole Uterhardt
Cast Jenna Edmonds
Cast Tom Gillespie
Cast Michael Henry Harris
Cast David Klein
Cast Jennifer Lee
Cast Charlie Miller
Cast Cathe Hall Payne
Cast Angie Short
Cast Justin Sims
Cast Jay Tryall
Cast Carrie Walrond-Hood
Cast Barry N. West
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


You don’t have to be smart to enjoy this production (but it helps)
by line!
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Smartly Funny!
Funnily Smart!
And all at the same time!

Onstage Atlanta’s presentation of David Ives “All in the Timing”, a random collection of 7 out of a total of 9 “one acts” per performance, is a thoroughly refreshing and fun theatrical experience!

The writing is deep, complex, and carefully thought out while also superficial, silly and completely disposable! You do have to pay careful attention because many of the “one acts” seem to have one topic at their center, while simultaneously offering a completely different one. Theatre like this that makes you think, while it also makes you laugh, is a rare event in this town these days!

I don’t want to go into the specifics of the collection of “one acts” I saw on Sunday March 2nd because I don’t want to spoil it. I prefer to keep my comments more general for this “review”. If I went into details here, there would be no point in encouraging anyone reading this to go see the show because I would have taken the fun and surprises out of it.

I will say however that part of the fun is getting swept up in the comedic styling of the pieces as the performance progresses. Many of the pieces really aren’t “one acts” in my opinion, but more like skits. Some are explorations of language, or an off beat idea, or variations on relationships, others are comedic “riffs” on a situation or idea and offer many different “takes” on the same setup. I was reminded stylistically of the late Shel Silverstein by a few of the pieces. This is a fine collection of “in your head” humor with a few truly funny “laugh out loud” bits too.

The look and feel of the show was seamless and very solid. The show features the acting and directing talents of the Onstage Atlanta “artistic company”. Each piece was produced by a different combination of OSA’s “company”. Even though each piece may have been directed by a different director and feature different actors, they fit together perfectly. I was expecting peaks and valleys from one piece to another, but that wasn’t the case. All the different pieces had a uniformity of quality in performance, direction and staging. It was consistently excellent throughout the show.

Lest I appear to be “in the pocket” of the folks at Onstage, I will say that I personally don’t really care for the gimmick of encouraging the audience to come again in hopes of seeing the two pieces they missed (that would mean they would have to sit through at least five other pieces they have already seen). That seems kind of dumb to me. Comedy the second time around is usually not as funny (which would make for a less enjoyable experience the second time around).

So if you like your theatrical comedy with a dash of intelligence, cleverness and wit, go check out “All in the Timing” at Onstage Atlanta at least once. I may not be that smart, but I’ve got to say you’d have to be dumber than a box of rocks to miss this one!
not a gimmick by tgillesp
There was no "gimmick" regarding performing 7 of the 9 pieces in each performance -- there were scheduling conflicts for different cast members on different weekends, which meant that we could not have performed all the pieces each night.
Fugue A La Cart
by Mama Alma
Monday, February 25, 2008
After a season spent tackling infanticide, homicide, suicide, filicide, murder, mayhem, and institutional genocide, OnStage Atlanta lightens up, presenting selections from David Ives' All in the Timing and Mere Mortals. These are delightfully concocted confections of ironic whimsy, designed to make us nod knowingly, wink conspiratorially, and occasionally laugh out loud. There's something for everyone: a dictator's wife pondering the reason the gardener might have smashed an ice axe into her husband's head (which, incredibly still works 36 hours later): "Perhaps he just wanted to pick your brain?" ("Variations on the Death of Trotsky"); a young man who identifies more with machines than people and yet is still able to find true love at the office supply ("Singular Kinda Guy"); or Ives' sci-fi explanation for why some days just don't turn out the way we want ("The Philadelphia").

Three of the pieces are especially good. "Time Flies," a rumination on the romantic challenges of the ephemeral mayfly (a creature which, because its sole purpose in its brief life is to copulate, does not require a mouth), manages to strike interesting parallels with the urgency of the modern singles scene. When I pointed out to my husband that the depiction of the young couple snacking while canoodling on the couch and watching some tube was scientifically inaccurate (because adult mayflies do not eat), he pointed out to me that they probably don't watch television, either, but this was FICTION. Jenna Edmonds and Justin Sims were very fetching as the young lovers and Tom Gillespie gave a spot on interpretation of a famous narrator. Director David Klein made good use of his material, and it was a very lively and funny piece.

"Sure Thing" is about a more everyday kind of couple. Stories about time travel or alternate realities let us ponder the intricacies of interconnectedness. Can a butterfly really flap its wings in China and cause a tornado in Kansas? On a more prosaic level, the preponderance of the DVR and TIVO have habituated us to the idea that life should have a rewind button. Justin Sims (sans his mayfly wings), with a rangy "aw shucks" quality which worked well for his cowboy in Bus Stop last season, and Carrie Walrond-Hood, striking a deft balance between debutante and soccer mom, play two people whose paths cross at a streetside café. As their conversation proceeds, the many pitfalls inherent in any tentative relationship gape, and Sims falls into them, one after another. But Ives allows him a reset, sometimes by only a word, sometimes by a whole paragraph, until we see the through line. It's rather like watching Schrödinger's cat getting killed over and over until he finally gets it right, all the alternate realties collapsing and releasing him from that damn box. In less capable hands than director Michael Henry Harris', this piece's fugue-like structure could have come off as nothing more than an acting exercise, but it rang true, and funny, and I liked it a lot.

I must admit, though, as a lit major from way back, my favorite piece was "Words, Words, Words", which attempts to answer the musical question, if three chimps sat in a room and typed into infinity, would they produce Hamlet? At times I felt my husband (another lit major) and I were the only ones laughing, as the allusions flew hot and heavy, but even a passing familiarity with Mel Gibson's or Kenneth Branagh's movies should give the theater goer enough background to get the general satire. Charlie Miller was perfect as the erudite Milton, and Jennifer Lee was appropriately savvy as the politically motivated Swifty, but Kelsey Bailey (who is, I will admit, an intern) was so faint I could barely hear her. She has a beautifully sweet voice, and her bio says she hopes to pursue a career in theater, so she shouldn't be hiding her gifts. Director Barbara Cole Uterhardt needs to tell her, "honey child, represent!"

Several of the pieces, "Words, Words, Words" included, merit several viewings, as there's just so much going on at once, and laughter often obscures the lines. Only seven of the nine pieces are shown at any given show, so the makeup is different each time. The post-show dustup with cast and crew proved illuminating. A cast member gave me the origin of one of the lines in "Words3," and I was able to give her the origin of a line that had seemed familiar to her [Danny Kaye movies being a useful trivia category.]. As this presentation by Onstage involves the entire New Artistic Company, I urge you to stick around and meet some of these amazing people. It's quickly becoming one of my favorite places to hang out.

Note: The use of "Words3" was suggested by Dedalus' use of "T2" in his review of Room Service (although he somehow got his superscript to print correctly). Any other similarity to any other work created by stringing more than three words together, including the Declaration of Independence, the speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, the speeches of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, or the speeches of Gov. Deval Patrick, are purely coincidental.
by EKFricke
Nice review Mama Alma. I especially like this turn of phrase: "delightfully concocted confections". Sweet!

It's been a while since I've seen a show at Onstage and it's right in my 'hood (well, near my 'hood anyway). Hm. Will have to have a look at the old date book. I was also an English major in a past life... I do tend to geek on on the written word....


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