See All In The Timing, While There's Still Time

Thursday, May 16, 2013 - by Hunter Rodgers

David Ives has been a staple of student scene nights for years now. Not because his writing is in anyway simple, but because it’s short. Here is a playwright who packs a lot into a little. In fact, most of his plays are barely more than the length of SNL sketches, though much more consistently funny. Think early Woody Allen meets Christopher Durang and you begin to approach the comedic vibe of David Ives. 

It takes a special sort to deliver an Ives’ piece properly and many have failed in the attempt. A performer must be equipped with an astounding verbal dexterity and, as the title of the collection indicates, timing. In fact, I’m not sure there’s a title more appropriate to the success of the play than All in the Timing. Luckily, the cast of ETC’s production is gifted enough to handle the challenges.

Six actors take on six short plays in a frenzy of comedy. Jeremy Wilkins, Casey Keelen, and Taylor Williams are hysterical as chimps typing Shakespeare in Words, Words, Words. Wilkins is especially adept at the physical and imbues his ape with a staggering level of detail. Here is a performer fearless in the face of comedy.    

In The Philadelphia, a man discovers he’s fallen into a Lewis Carol-like black hole where he must ask for the opposite of what he wants in order to get it. Amy Hendricks is spot on as a diner waitress whose sole job is to make the lives of her customers an existential hell.

In the most widely performed play of the series, Sure Thing, Hendricks teams with Williams as a couple whose fate is rewritten before our eyes, in order to ensure a “happily ever after”. The two actors deftly make the hairpin turns in a piece that requires precision timing. 

But if the show has a star, it’s Cody Keown. Here is an actor who can both break your heart and execute a first rate bit of buffoonery. In The Universal Language, Keown, alongside Keelen, speak in malapropisms, puns, and gibberish in an astounding feat of verbal gymnastics. And, in Variations on the Death of Trotsky, Keown plays the titular character with a dogged determination not to die, even though he has a pick-axe buried (smashed) into his skull. Mariana Allen also shines as the wife of Trotsky, who must stand by and watch as history takes her husband.

In Phillip Glass Buys a Loaf of Bread, the audience is treated to a dramatic musical interlude in the middle of the most mundane of situations. And this sums up the world of David Ives, where the absurd meets the mundane, and where language is the cornerstone of connection and of alienation. In a beautifully moving moment, Casey Keelen utters the line “I believe that language is the opposite of loneliness."  Well, after listening to an audience roar in delight together, I would like to say that laughter, too, is the opposite of loneliness.

All in the Timing plays at ETC through Sunday.  For more information, visit

LDT Presents “Vanya And Sonia And Masha And Spike”

“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” will be presented on the stage of Dalton Little Theatre beginning Oct. 23 and will run for three weekends. Amanda Havelin directs this 2013 Tony Award winning comedy written by Christopher Durang which centers around “three siblings and one hot mess.” Theatre patrons who arrive in Halloween costume on Oct. 31 will receive free treats at ... (click for more)

Music At St. Paul's Artist Series Concert Is Tuesday

The Music at St. Paul's: Artist Series Concert will be on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. featuring Rosella Ewing, mezzo soprano, and Kyung-Eun Na on piano.  Tell me the Truth about Love will contain love and loss in art songs with works by Debussy and Haydn as well as cabaret songs by Schoenberg, Britten, Weill, Duke and Sondheim.  A reception follows the concert. Tickets ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Putting World Class Guitar Collection On Display At The Choo Choo

A world class guitar collection is set to go on display permanently at the Chattanooga Choo Choo. "Songbirds," which is built around the collection of Lookout Mountain businessman Thorpe McKenzie, was introduced to the public on Thursday night. Invited guests at the Choo Choo heard Nashville guitar star Doyle Dykes perform in the Choo Choo's new Revelry Room. He played some ... (click for more)

Father Killed By Train Just After Pushing Daughter To Safety In East Brainerd

A 31-year-old man was killed just after he pushed his 10-year-old daughter to safety in an encounter with a train on a trestle in East Brainerd on Thursday afternoon. Police said two pedestrians were walking on the train tracks on a trestle at Audubon Acres when a train came around a bend and struck one of them. Justin McCary was struck by the train as he pushed ... (click for more)

Regulations As A Whole On Signal Mountain

A few years ago I was flying over Chattanooga on my way to Atlanta.  The sun had just come up and I enjoyed picking out Signal Mountain’s location, on Walden’s Ridge, in the morning light.  What was amazing was that I could not tell that a town existed under the tree canopy.  I hope that the same can be said 10, 20, or even 50 years from now.  During last ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: An Unfortunate Sentence

There was a most unfortunate line in a recent email written to me and, in retrospect, I should not have included it in some examples of the huge response regarding the bicycle lanes now being installed on Broad Street. I’ll admit I misread the line because I feel certain I know what the writer was trying to convey. As a matter of fact, I received enough of an outcry I want to clarify ... (click for more)