Tickets remain for second and final weekend of the Georgetown College Maskrafters’ spring production “All In The Timing,” five short one-act plays that could just as well be “All in the Laughing.” “It’s familiar comedy with a certain rhythm and it has a tinge of the Vaudeville put into the weirdest situations,” said Director and Theatre professor Ed Smith.
Curtain is at 8 p.m., Friday through Sunday in the Ruth Pearce Wilson Lab Theatre. Tickets are $4 for students, $5 for adults at the door or at the campus bookstore. Call (502) 863-8134 for reservations.
According to Dr. Smith, these short comedies by New York playwright David Ives deal with a wide variety of topics and issues – the Tower of Babel, Leon Trotsky’s assassination, three monkeys trying to type the works of Shakespeare, a Bermuda-triangle of bad luck known as “a Philadelphia” and the chances of finding one’s true love at a random party – that are funny and though-provoking. Critics have described Ives’ work as “built on snappy patter, quick-fire comic brilliance, inspired gibberish and paradoxical plot quirks” and a “collection of brain-teasing comedies.”
But, don’t take Smith’s word for it; below is why freshman theatre critic Molly Shoulta thinks you’ll have a great time for 80 minutes with “All in the Timing.”
‘All in the Timing’ Review
Molly Shoulta ‘13
News Bureau Intern
L-R: Paul Eddy, Amanda Kachler and Ethan Smith in ‘The Philadelphia’ (Photos by sophomore Evelyn Fuson)
It is not every day that one play can encircle a group of monkeys, ancient Bible characters, and an exiled Marxist, but playwright David Ives has somehow combined all of the above in the current Maskrafters production of “All in the Timing.” Director Ed Smith has done outstanding work with the actors and actresses of the play while Professor Dathan Powell proved that less is more in the area of scenic and technical design. While the script itself allows for a lot of natural humor, Smith’s ability to draw out the wit even more through something as miniscule as scene changes makes the production an enjoyable experience you will want to see again.
The performance opens up with “The Philadelphia” which is presented on a busy street in present day New York City where Al and Mark, played by Paul Eddy (senior from Georgetown) and Ethan Smith (freshman from Cynthiana), respectively, are sharing the ironies of their day at a corner café. The audience is tipped off at first that something is not right when Al orders the oddest collection of food from the waitress, Amanda Kachler (senior from Maysville), and thinks nothing of it. But when Mark comes in and describes the morning where even the most normal of requests are ignored or denied, Al puts forth a simple solution: he’s in a Philadelphia. When he asks for something, Al tells him to ask for the opposite. It’s a tough concept to grasp, but Eddy and Smith pull off the roles perfectly. The timing in Eddy, Smith, and Kachler’s lines proves their experience on the stage and their comfort under the spotlights really makes them shine. This first short scene is undoubtedly the best in the play and serves as a great opening act. There is not a dull moment and not a minute goes by without laughter. The hard work is obvious. This high spirit was carried on throughout the play.
“English Made Simple”
Matt Eddy and Samantha Yeates in ‘English Made Simple’
The next act is a behind-the-scenes look at the first interactions between a guy and a girl and everything from the underlying tones and hidden messages to the “what if’s” of any new relationship. The scene is carefully portrayed through highlighting one couple at a party in front of a screen showing the silhouettes of rest of the partygoers, fully engrossed in conversations of their own. While the script makes the audience reflect on their own casual relationships, it is not the strongest script in the series. Still, Jack, played by Matt Eddy (sophomore from Georgetown), and Jill, played by Samantha Yeates (sophomore from Georgetown), portray an honest and true to life first awkward encounter of potential friends, soul mates, and enemies. The setting for the scene is simply “here” and taking place “now”, leaving open to interpretation just about everything else.
“Words, Words, Words”
L-R: Meredith Cave, Amanda Williamson and Biancia Zinger are monkeys in ‘Words, Words, Words’
The middle one-act is set in the research lab at Columbia University. Three monkeys with the names of Kafka, Milton, and Swift – played by freshmen Amanda Williamson (Simpsonville), Meredith Cave (Nicholasville), and Biancia Zinger (Fort Knox), are being studied to see just how long it will take them to write out Shakespeare’s Hamlet under those conditions. The hypothesis is that eventually, somehow, one of the three will do it.
But appropriately, the time given in the setting is “forever” As snippets of Kafka, the German modernist, Milton, who wrote Paradise Lost, and Swift, the Anglo-Irish essayist and political activist, are read, it becomes clear that these monkey are in fact the embodiment of the writers themselves. Williamson’s portrayal of absurdity and oddball writing is perfect alongside Cave’s calm and thoughtful process of taking in her surroundings. Zinger is obviously the political activist and rebels against the system the three monkeys are subjected to. An overall witty and very well cast scene, “Words…” puts a humorous twist on any history or lit class.
“Variations on the Death of Trotsky”
Samantha Yeates and Ethan Smith in ‘Variations On The Death Of Trotsky’
With each taking a second turn, Freshman Ethan Smith plays historical figure Leon Trotsky while Senior Samantha Yeates plays his wife in “Variations on the Death of Trotsky.” The scene refers over and over again to an Encyclopedia from 2010 that tells of an attack on Trotsky on April 20, but his death on April 21 in 1940. The couple talks out what happens and the possible murderers, until the arrival of Ramon, played by Yelton (sophomore from Louisville). Get set: The audience is now in for a surprise and a laugh — beyond the natural comic relief this Maskrafters regular brings. Yelton’s timing is impeccable and his interactions with Smith truly show their veteran skills on the stage. This particular scene was definitely a crowd favorite and even as it was brought down a few notches for a serious moment towards the end, the energy was constant.
“Babel’s In Arms”
Taylor Wilson, left, and Keisha Tyler in ‘Babel’s In Arms’
The last scene in the “Timing” series is a modern take on the building of the Tower of Babel. The characters in the scene absolutely glowed. First on came brothers Matt and Paul Eddy playing builders Cannapflit and Gorph. Their chemistry was absolutely remarkable. The timing and play off of each other was unsurpassed throughout the other scenes. Soon the audience was introduced to the sophisticated business-woman, Taylor Wilson (sophomore from Upper Marlboro, MD), and the High Priestess, Terkeisha Tyler (junior from Lexington), and her servant, Austin Conway (freshman from Georgetown) who were all coming to inspect the land for the new tower. Taking place in Ancient Mesopotamia a “long, long, long time ago,” the scene takes hold of the different languages of the time to confuse Cannapflit and Gorph when everyone else seems to know the meanings of certain phrases.
The hilarious take on the Bible story brings a suitable and laughable end to a great collection of comic plays.