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 ensembletheatreofchattanooga.com



Laurel And Hardy Babes In Toyland Screens At Heritage House Dec. 15

Laurel and Hardy in Babes in Toyland will screen at Heritage House Arts and Civic Center on Thursday, Dec. 15. There will be two screenings at 2 and 7 p.m.  Admission and popcorn is free. Review for the movie: Stannie Dum (Stan Laurel) and Ollie Dee (Oliver Hardy) rent rooms in Mother Peep's (‘The Old Lady in the . . .’) shoe in Toyland. When Mother Peep can't make her ... (click for more)

Seize The Laughter Featuring Skits From Carol Burnett Show Runs Feb. 3-5

Carpe Risus presents, 'Seize the Laughter', a variety show featuring skits from The Carol Burnett Show, coming to the Catoosa County Colonnade Feb. 3-5, 2017. There will be nearly two hours of skit comedy, live music and fun.   Performances are Friday, Feb. 3, at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 4, at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 5, at 2:30 p.m.  Reserved seat ... (click for more)

City Administrator Lurone Jennings Suspended For Misallocation Of Funds

Rev. Lurone Jennings, administrator of City Youth and Family Development, has been suspended for one week for misallocation of funds. He also is to be issued a letter of reprimand and will undergo ethics training. The action came after a critical audit report from City Auditor Stan Sewell. It says Mr. Jennings transferred $18,500 of funds to a program, Journey Educational ... (click for more)

New Walker County Commissioner Whitfield To Move Public Meetings To Evenings And To Larger Venue; Will Also Be Listening Sessions

Walker County Sole Commissioner-Elect Shannon Whitfield said there will be a new arrangement for holding of public commissioner sessions when he takes place at the start of January. Current Commissioner Bebe Heiskell has held Thursday meetings at 3:30 p.m. from time to time in a conference room at her office near the Walker County Courthouse in LaFayette. Mr. Whitfield said those ... (click for more)

Roy Couldn't Possibly Be More Wrong - And Response (5)

Spreading false information isn't only harmful, as we've been made aware recently. The spread of false information can be outright dangerous.   Calling himself a Christian and all, Roy truly disappoints on so many levels with his recently opinion piece about black students attending predominately white schools being the cause of so much problems and grief at those schools. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Facebook Starlet

The Pants Store, a toney women’s boutique in Birmingham’s Mountain Book community, held its annual Holiday Open House about a week or so and, as usual, the popular store was full of customers and holiday cheer. It was a festive gathering, fun for all, but as store employees cleaned up for the next day, they happened across an empty designer-shoe box and a brassiere somebody had ... (click for more)