Ion brings back ‘All In The Timing’
By Carol Davis
SAN DIEGO— David Ives’ All In The Timing is a novel piece. Quirky would be another way to describe it. Ion mounted this show some years ago to rave reviews.
This little theatre company, like the “Little Engine That Could” is defying all odds by keeping their newly minted BLKBOX Theatre alive at 6th @ Penn going with both Off /Late night performances as well as weekend shows. Why not when the space belongs to you? As business owners you learn that the rent has to be paid even when the space isn’t being use on a daily basis.
All In The Timing is a four-character ensemble. Steven Lone, Brian Mackey, Karson St. John and Kim Strassburger play some of the characters some of time but not necessarily all of the characters all of the time except in one they all play all the characters all of the time. It’s all in the timing.
Ives’ play is made up of six short vignettes or acts that require lightning timing and costume changes; sometimes no more that a wig, a moustache, a tie or a pair of sunglasses. The first selection, Sure Thing, a young girl Bette (St. John) is sitting at an outdoor restaurant drinking coffee and reading a paperback (Faulkner). A man, Bill (Lone) approaches, (tries to pick up on her) and asks if the empty seat next to her table is taken. What ensues are a series of possible answers, false starts, mistakes and miscalculations off set by the ding of a bell between each set of answers until they settle on one answer that seems comfortable to each.
Words, Words, Words is probably the funniest of the six. Three chimps (Strassburger, Lone and Mackey) who are chosen for an experiment are locked in a room with typewriter keyboards hanging from their necks. The theory is that if they bang on the keyboards long enough, sooner or later they will type out “Hamlet”. All three actors, appropriately named Swift, Milton and Kafka are pretty adept at acting like chimps, ferreting out little gnats from their hair, biting off chunks of banana, and scratching under their armpits. Strassburger, whose Chimp name is Kafka prints out lines of K’s. The other two make literary jokes about their identities as well.
The Universal Language finds Dawn (St. John) and Don (Lone) together in a room set up by Don as a classroom for those interested in learning a new language, Unamunda, that he created. When Dawn starts the lesson she tells Don she stammers and she hopes this new language will help her overcome her impediment. Undaunted, he proceeds to teach her this gibberish language (sounding like a page form Larry Shue’s The Foreigner) which turns out to be a tongue twister of dazzling proportions. Lone is amazing at this ‘new language’ which sounds like a combination of Pig Latin, double talk, foreign phrases and over accented words to name a few. His scam convinces Dawn to spend all her money taking the course but, smitten with her, he convinces her not to waste her money
Philadelphia is pretty clever as well. Two friends, Al and Mark meet up in a restaurant (Lone and Mackey) Mark is in a funk. He woke up with a headache, the drugstore didn’t have any aspirin, the newsstand wouldn’t sell him the local paper and taxis are going in the wrong direction. His pal Al tells him that physically he’s in the state of New York but he’s in the metaphysical state of Philadelphia where if you ask for one thing, you get the opposite. Making it all the more funny, Strassburger, the waitress taking the food order is right on top of the situation. Ask for a Bud and you get orange juice, which is what you wanted in the first place. If you are in Los Angeles, you’re laid back. If your marriage is breaking up you are in Chicago. It’s all about geography and Al knows the score.
Phillip Glass buys a loaf of bread and Variations on the Death of Trotsky are the last two.
Phillip Glass is a parody on Glasses music set to his buying a loaf of bread at the bakery. He runs into an ex lover and the piece gets to be a more complicated and repetitive interpretation of the composers music. All four are in this piece.
Variations on the death of Trotsky has Mackey as Trotsky and Strassburger as his wife. Trotsky is walking around with an axe buried in his head but he doesn’t remember it happening. It seems that Trotsky lived a whole day after he was bludgeoned with an ice axe to the head by his gardener Ramon (Lone).
He was sure he would die by ice pick. His wife keeps reading from an encyclopedia article saying that he died in 1940 but the book she is reading from is dated 1990. The play goes through several versions of his last days and what might have happened to him before and during his death. But the most bizarre thing about the piece is the fact that Trotsky doesn’t even feel the axe in his head. It’s crazy and outrageous fun. Just what the doctor ordered.
All four actors worked their collective butts off making this show enjoyable, somewhat crazy and most of all just plain fun.
All In The Timing is co directed by Glenn Paris and Claudio Raygoza. Matt Scott designed the sets.
Through May 29th
Organization: Ion Theatre
Production Type: Comedy
Where: 6th @ Penn, San Diego California, 92103
Ticket Prices: $10.00-$25.00
Drama critic Davis is based in San Diego