by Dick Kerekes AND Leisla Sansom
Jacksonville?s unique K-12 private school, The Foundation Academy, opened up a two weekend run of eight of David Ives’s clever and thought-provoking one-act plays, titled All In The Timing.” Two remaining performances are scheduled on November 20, 21 at 8 p.m. at their campus, 3675 San Pablo Road S. in Jacksonville.
Ives wrote six one-act plays between 1987 and 1993, which were published in 1994. Ives did write additional one-act plays and apparently very generously allows anyone doing All in the Timing to do any of fourteen plays.
Director Madaline Hill knows her students well, and selected eight titles to stage that best suited the her talent base. Those of you who have seen it somewhere in Jacksonville, where it has been done several times, may not be familiar with two selections, Arabian Nights (written for the Humana New Play Festival) and Time Flies (published in 2007).
One of the original six plays is Words, Words, Words where three chimps are locked in a room with typewriters, where they finally get off to a good start on their version of Hamlet. As acted by Ellie Walts, Derek Caywood, and Josh Matos, they monkeyed around for about ten minutes with lots of laughs for the audience.
Ever meet someone of the opposite sex for the first time and find yourself lost for words or saying the wrong thing in trying to impress them? Sure Thing with David Medina and Cassidy Butler finds a guy and a gal meeting in a caf? for the first time and saying things they don?t mean. Well, they get a multiple second chances, as a bell rings at the end of each interchange and they can start each thought over.
Variations on the Death of Trotsky has Christian Rodriquez as Trotsky, Angelina Bonfiglio as Mrs. Trotsky and Mr. Caywood back again this time as Ramon. This unique skit uses an old vaudeville gimmick, with Trotsky walking around with an axe in his head after reading about his death in an encyclopedia.
One of the crowd favorites, and another play not often done, is Captive Audience, with Emily Butler and Derek Alton, and reappearances by Medina and Bonfiglio. The theme of television controlling life is portrayed, as characters in TV shows respond to and manipulate the thoughts, conversations, and actions of couple observing them.
One of my favorites has always been The Philadelphia. A very disturbed fellow Mark (Mike Salmon) learns from his buddy Al that is he stuck in a Philadelphia, an unfathomable metaphysical state of mind where things go wrong. Al tells Mark he must ask for the opposite of what he wants and he can overcome his funk. He tries this strategy on the waitress played by Greta Clark, who is having problems of her own.
Jacob Watson, with a strong delivery style, performed the only monologue called A Singular Kind of Guy. It is the brief story of Mitch, who thinks he is a typewriter.
Arabian Nights, a play I had never seen, featured Melvin Reynolds, Sarah Hart and Patrice Carter in a very unusual shopping experience using an interpreter.
The final selection of the evening Time Flies concerned a day in the life of a male and a female mayfly, Jacob Watson and Emily Butler, with some television narrative by David Attenborough, played by Derek Alton. Mayflies are born, meet other mayflies as adults, mate, and then die at the end of a day. (Nature is amazing isn?t it?) And we learn they are terrified of frogs. A very funny play and thought-provoking as well.
Costumes, by Madaline Hill and Sharleen Smith, were largely everyday clothes, consistent with the settings of most of the scenes and characters. However, the costuming for the chimps did suggest what might have been chosen by a zoo keeper (at a time in a distant, unenlightened past) to amuse zoo visitors and included a plaid jacket with a bow tie for one of the males, and a pink skirt for the female. The Interpreter of Arabian Nights was dressed in a bright flowing dress. And, as mayflies are not everyday characters, they received wings and antennae.
Set design, by Greg Stites, Joe Harris, and Jim Lynch, included a back wall with orange medallions, and a very large clock, which also functioned as a moon. Doors and flooring included simulated planks. The design was both interesting and functional, and supported the multiple scene changes throughout the production.
The tech crew did a great job in getting furniture and props on and off stage efficiently, and included Eli Retama, Amanda Garger, Morgan Ivey, Daniel Rubino, Peyton Enfinger, Nick Enfinger, and Nick Augustini.
I was impressed by the performances of all of the participating students. Material that is somewhat abstract can be very difficult to memorize but the actors were sharp in picking up their line cues and very expressive with their body language. This is brain teasing stuff, but is very funny even though you may find yourself scratching your head at some of the antics you see on stage.
The show is done without an intermission and is a fast-paced about 90 minutes featuring bizarre events from the brilliant mind of David Ives. Don?t miss it. Call 241-3515 for ticket information.