“Variations on the Death of Trotsky,” the final play in the one-act Drama Dock collection, shows the audience the leader of the Russian Revolution (Harris Levinson) with Mrs. Trotsky (Jill Bulow). (Peter Serko Photo)

“Variations on the Death of Trotsky,” the final play in the one-act Drama Dock collection, shows the audience the leader of the Russian Revolution (Harris Levinson) with Mrs. Trotsky (Jill Bulow). (Peter Serko Photo)

Drama Dock’s one-act plays impress

  • Tuesday, April 24, 2018 12:16pm
  • Arts

I drove home from Drama Dock’s production of “All In The Timing,” in a deeply nonsensical state, moved to a parallel universe where I was hoodwinked into existential musings. And, I’m guessing that’s just what playwright David Ives wanted.

This production of Ives’ 1994 package of six one-act plays directed by Michael Barker leaves none of the playwright’s deep queries on the table. They all come out in style. One minute the audience is guffawing over a perfectly crafted line only to be silenced in psychic speculation at the next.

Barker and his cast have chosen six plays from the 15 Ives wrote over a six-year period (1987-1993) for this theatrical package. The opening one-act, “Sure Thing,” sets the evening’s tone as a man and woman meet for the first time in a café. Their awkward meeting is continually reset by a cowbell each time they say the wrong thing, until they finally connect—it is all in the timing.

Drama Dock regular Marshall Murray plays Bob with accelerating comedic energy to his Betty who deftly moves from shy to volcanic and back again. In “The Universal Language,” Cate O’Kane and Drama Dock newcomer Thomas Abraham walk a breath-taking linguistic tightrope as they navigate a fast-paced exchange over Unamunda, a con man’s invented language, as he tries to sell a class to the naïve Dawn.

In “Philadelphia,” Harris Levison returns to the DD stage as a slick Angelino patronizing Michael Shook’s Al as he suffers a frustrating distorted reality. Harris’ entry alone gets a laugh, and Stephanie Murray’s waitress character nearly steals the show.

After intermission at the newly remodeled Open Space for Arts & Community—where the bathrooms are ample, warm and beautiful—comes “Long Ago and Far Away,” in which Stephanie and Marshall Murray play a couple about to move out of their New York apartment. The story takes a bizarre, dramatic turn into time travel, suicide, and the nature of reality with help from Jill Bulow and Thomas Abraham.

“Words, Words, Words,” puts us in a chimpanzee cage with three monkeys assigned to prove the Infinite Monkey Theorem that three affable chimps typing into infinity will eventually produce Hamlet. How could this not be hilarious?

“All In The Timing” concludes with a darkly comedic reflection on denial as Mrs. Trotsky tries gently to explain to her husband, Leon, that he’s actually dead. Hijinks ensue.

With this production, Barker and his team have created a nimble ensemble that does comedic justice to six brilliant pieces of theatre…and it is…all in the timing. Don’t miss it. But be sure you have a designated driver who can stay in the present.

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