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Time Flies

a Comedy
by David Ives

COMPANY : Horizon Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Horizon Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
ID# 874

SHOWING : February 06, 2004 - March 21, 2004



Seven One-Acts Plays featuring David Ives' skewed takes on life, language, love, and, oh yes, Time.

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Dilated Time
by Dedalus
Wednesday, February 11, 2004
Part of Einstein's Relativity Theory is the concept of Time Dilation. Not to get too technical, what this boils down to is this -- the faster you go, the slower time passes relative to the pace of an observer.

I bring this up because Horizon's production of "Time Flies" by David Ives is a perfect example. Here were seven short one-act plays written by a clever playwright with his finger on the pulse of modern life and language. They were staged at a break-neck pace. And yet, for me it was a very long evening in the theatre.

First up was "Enigma Variations," an absurd, deja vu satire for a woman and her psychiatrist, played by four actors, one set miming the actions and words of the other. The problem was that the groups were "off" -- it was obvious it was one set trying to follow the actions of another rather than two sets drilled in the same movements. On the plus side, this play boasted the best sight gag of the night -- a third character, Fifi the nurse, played by the very un-Fifilike Bart Hansard.

Next was "Babel's in Arms," the best play of the evening. In this, two lowly workers start the fabled Tower of Babel and kvetch about life and fookers. Anthony Farrell and Bart Hansard were good at capturing the absurdity of the situation. What was not so good was the breakneck pace of dialog -- clarity was too often sacrificed for speed. It's a little hard to sell the "Son of Bob" joke when the pseudo-biblical names have been mumbled, garbled and lost.

Third was the Title Play, "Time Flies" in which two Mayflies come to terms with lust, mortality, and David Attenborough (if you have to ask, you wouldn't understand). I sorta kinda liked this one too, but I thought the script took a nosedive at the end. I do have to say that LaLa Cochran and Bart Hansard (again) made mating bugs actually hot to watch.

After intermission was "The Green Hill," a whimsical piece about obsession and what really matters, that went on a bit too long and was hurt by an uninteresting performance in the sentral role (there was nothing technically wrong with it -- I just found myself having little sympathy or interest in the character as played).

"Captive Audience" was a TV Nation satire that just didn't work, "Arabian Nights" should have soared (it was may 2nd favorite script in the collection), but, again, the actors just did not sell it.

Finally, the night ended with the biggest miss of all - "Lives of the Saints." This showed to elderly Chicago matrons preparing a funeral feast, miming all the actions while off-stage "foley artists" provided the effects. On the page, this was a sweet and clever character portrait with a poignant air. On the stage, the mime was sloppy and unspecific, the sound effects off and, again, too unspecific, and the poignancy and character totally destroyed by unintelligible and obviously fake Chicago accents. The script called for the "Foley Artists" to be kept hidden until halfway through. For some reason, director Jeff Adler had them in full view from the start. This had the effect of taking attention away from the women and made us too aware of the bad timing and miming going on.

I must admit I enjoyed reading these plays a lot more than I enjoyed watching them. Many of the problems I had with the cast could be attributed to opening night uneasiness, and some may disappear as the run continues (the timing issues especially). But, it can be an uneasy night when it is obvious that the cast is enjoying themselves a lot more than the audience. I believe David Ives deserves a much better treatment than this.

-- Brad Rudy (

Note -- I was also disappointed that my favorite play in the collection, a David Mamet parody called "Speed-the-Play," was not included in the evening. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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