All in the Timing

Friday, December 02 nd, 2016 at 00:12 am 

All in the Timing is at 59E59, it’s by David Ives, and it’s the 20th Anniversary of this work, which consists of six One Act plays that are all focused on the issue of timing. The first one is probably the best, although they are all very well done by a terrific cast, where a boy and a girl are trying to get together and all the mistakes they’ve made, and the timing is fantastic on this. It’s kind of like the movie “Groundhog Day” but with a little bit more class. The next one has to do with three monkeys, Swift, Kafka, and Milton, trying to write Hamlet for a Columbia professor, not knowing what Hamlet is. The third one is incredibly impressive in terms of just the ability of the cast to make up a language, where a woman who stutters is trying to learn a universal language and they finally carry on long conversations in this made up language. It’s really impressive, especially if you’ve ever tried to memorize a part and you try to make linkages, but this is linkages that don’t exist because it’s a made up language. The second act doesn’t quite work as much as the first in terms of just manic energy. The first is Philip Glass buys a loaf of bread, which is incredibly clever, but you actually have to know who Philip Glass is! I suppose if you don’t know anything about Philip Glass, it kind of works as a sort of Avant Garde, weird thing. The Philadelphia plays on I supposed a New Yorker’s view of how clueless Philadelphia is. The idea is that if you’re in a parallel universe, which is a Philadelphia, no matter what you ask for you don’t get, as opposed to a Baltimore, where you don’t get anything, or as opposed to a Cleveland, where you don’t even know that you’re in a Philadelphia. I think this will resonate most with New Yorkers. The last piece is called Variations on the Death of Trotsky, and it’s a visual gag, so if you know anything about Russian History, you know how Trotsky was killed. So, the opening scene is a guy who looks like Leon Trotsky with an axe buried in his head. Well, technically as they point out in the play, you can see the handle, so it’s smashed into his head. If you like the absurd and you like really good timing and an incredibly talented cast, I would encourage you to rush your little bones to 59E59 because timing is everything and it won’t be there for very long. Four stars.

JOY METER