Review: ‘All in the Timing’

The play “All in the Timing” was recreated on Concordia Campus at the Concordia College Theatre.

“All in the Timing” by David Ives is a play made up of six separate one-act plays within the overall play itself (except for the small mentions of communism propaganda spread throughout. Gross.). These plays went in the order of “Sure Thing,” “Words, Words, Words,” “The Universal Language,” “Philip Glass Buys a Loaf of Bread,” “The Philadelphia” and (to the delight of my friends because of my last name) “Variations on the Death of Trotsky.”

‘Sure Thing’

“Sure Thing” directed by Lara Moll, is about a young woman and man who meet in a coffee shop. Whenever one of them says something that would cause their potential relationship to stop, a bell would chime and they would redo the scene. This happened over and over until they go to watch a movie together. I felt this play had a sprinkling of expressionism in the way that that the two characters were able to go back and change what they said; an ability many of us would love to have.

‘Words, Words, Words’

“Words, Words, Words” directed by Lewis Johnson is about three chimps named Swift, Kafka and Milton who are tasked with the job of being three “monkeys typing into infinite will eventually produce Hamlet.” This play centers around the three chimps and their thoughts on being forced to produce a play they have never seen. Swift gets really upset at this thought and eventually plans to kill their scientist overlord Dr. Rosenbaum. I love this play for two reasons. First, because it shows the thoughts of the apes in a humorous way. The second reason why I love this play is because it has the overarching production of “Hamlet” inside it. Plus, there are lines from the Shakespearean production spoken by the chimps as if they were in a production of “Hamlet” themselves (which, in a sense, they are).

‘The Universal Language’

“The Universal Language” directed by Kendra Buro, is a play where a “teacher” of a class has created a new language that is supposedly the future of connecting humans through a single language. The teacher gets a lady to show up at his classroom to learn the new language but soon ousts himself as a fraud because he does not want to take the woman’s money. This play was cute but not too exciting following “Words, Words, Words.”  It did have a sweet moment where the teacher and the lady kiss, though.

‘Philip Glass Buys a Loaf of Bread’

“Philip Glass Buys a Loaf of Bread” directed by Josh Palmquist, was the only musical performance in “All in the Timing.” I think it was a nice contrast to the rest of the productions one-act wonders. To sum it up, this performance is all about bread and how Philip needs a loaf. However, during the humorously sung words: want, need, bread and loaf, there is a sad underlying message about a woman outside the bakery and Phillip. The subplot gives insight to a past relationship the two had. Although “All in the Timing” is not a musical, it does use a musical element to its benefit.

‘The Philadelphia’

“The Philadelphia” directed by Chris Cartwright, is an interesting play about an optimistic traveler in  L.A.  and disgruntled traveler stuck in Philadelphia. Where the man stuck in L.A. is having a great time, the other man is having an awful time because he is getting the opposite or nothing of whatever he asks for. Eventually, after the L.A. man teaches the Philadelphia man how to get what he wants, the tables are turned and the L.A. man’s perfect world crumbles. This play along with “Words, Words, Words” were the top plays for me from “All in the Timing.”

‘Variations on the Death of Trotsky’

The last one-act play of the night “Variations on the Death of Trotsky” directed by Jack Chudy, is a play about the death of Leon Trotsky, who was a soviet communist leader during the 1930s. This play reminded me of the first play in this ensemble “A Sure Thing,” because of the way it progresses. In the beginning we see Trotsky with a “mountain climbers ax” stuck in his head, not a pickaxe. Then his wife comes in with an encyclopedia from the future that details his death. Sure, enough the day the play takes place is the day Trotsky dies. This reminds me of “A Sure Thing” because when Trotsky dies a bell is rung and we reset a little more in the future. This is done to find out more about Trotsky’s death and how he handles it. This happens eight times. Just like “A Sure Thing” there is an expressionistic perspective seen throughout this play due to the distortion of reality and fake visions. Throughout the eight deaths of Trotsky we find out Ramon, Trotsky’s gardener, is the man who smashed the mountain climber’s axe into Trotsky’s head. This goes on until the eighth death of Trotsky where he comes to grips with death and the hope for humanity after he finds out his murderer did tend to the garden. “So even an assassin can make the flowers grow.” Trotsky says just before he dies one last time.

“All in the Timing” by David Ives, was wonderful play to see. Albeit it is mostly a comedy, there are some hidden and subtler meanings of existentialism and what it means to be human, rather than the ones that are plain as day such as the silly monkeys or getting the opposite of what you want. There is a lot in this play that can satisfy many a theatre goer who enjoy good comedy mixed in with existential crisis.

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