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All in the Timing: Fourteen Plays

All in the Timing: Fourteen Plays
Your Price: $22.95 CDN
Author: David Ives
Publisher: Vintage
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 336
Pub. Date: 1994
ISBN-10: 067975928X
ISBN-13: 9780679759287

About the Play Collection:

Winner of the the Outer Circle Critics John Gassner Playwriting Award.

The world according to David Ives is a very odd place, and his plays constitute a virtual stress test of the English language – and of the audience's capacity for disorientation and delight. His characters plunge into black holes called "Philadelphias," where the simplest desires are hilariously thwarted. Chimps named Milton, Swift, and Kafka are locked in a room and made to re-create Hamlet. And a con man peddles courses in a dubious language in which "hello" translates as "velcro" and "fraud" comes out as "freud."

At once enchanting and perplexing, incisively intelligent and side-splittingly funny, this collection of David Ives's plays includes Sure Thing and English Made Simple, which are ideal choices for high school drama contests and one-act festivals.

Sure Thing is a classic of contemporary comedy: Two people meet in a cafe and find their way through a conversational minefield as an offstage bell interrupts their false starts, gaffes, and faux pas on the way to falling in love. (Cast: 1 woman, 1 man)

Words, Words, Words is particularly suitable for schools and play contests. It recalls the philosophical adage that three monkeys typing into infinity will sooner or later produce Hamlet and asks: What would monkeys talk about at their typewriters? (Cast: 1 woman, 2 men)

The Universal Language brings together Dawn, a young woman with a stutter, and Don, the creator and teacher of Unamunda, a wild comic language. Their lesson sends them off into a dazzling display of hysterical verbal pyrotechnics – and, of course, true love. (Cast: 1 woman, 2 men)

Variations On The Death Of Trotsky shows us the Russian revolutionary on the day of his demise, desperately trying to cope with the mountain-climber's axe he's discovered in his head. (Cast: 1 woman, 2 men)

The Philadelphia presents a young man in a restaurant who has fallen into "a Philadelphia," a Twilight Zone-like state in which he cannot get anything he asks for. His only way out of the dilemma? To ask for the opposite of what he wants. (Cast: 1 woman, 2 men)

Long Ago And Far Away is a domestic drama of a troubled young wife who finds herself crossing through time — and identities — on a fateful winter evening in an empty apartment. (Cast: 2 women, 2 men)

Foreplay Or: The Art Of The Fugue brings us Chuck, a would-be Don Juan, in three rounds of seduction with three different women on a miniature-golf course. (Cast: 3 women, 3 men)

Seven Menus shows a round-robin of relationships at a restaurant table, as demonstrated by a group of friends that change, couple by couple and course by course, throughout several different meals. (Cast: 4 women, 4 men)

Mere Mortals eavesdrops on a lunch hour on a girder 50 stories over the street, as three construction workers share increasingly amazing secrets of their past. (Cast: 3 men.)

English Made Simple: A young man and woman meet at a party, and their immediate romantic attraction is translated into comically unromantic grammar lessons as they struggle to free themselves from the banal constrictions of party talk. (Cast: 1 woman, 2 men.)

A Singular Kinda Guy: A monologue about a man who believes he is actually a typewriter. (Cast: 1 man)

Speed-The-Play is a crash-course send-up of David Mamet, presenting the complete works of the master of scatological dialogue in just under eight, male-bonding minutes. (Cast: 3 women, 3 men)

Ancient History: A couple discusses tradition and relationships before and after they hold a party; one of the few dramatic works in this collection. (Cast: 1 woman, 1 man)

Philip Glass Buys A Loaf Of Bread is a parodic musical vignette in trademark Glassian style, with the celebrated composer having a moment of existential crisis in a bakery. (Cast: 2 women, 2 men)

All in the Timing won the Outer Critics Circle Playwriting Award, ran for two years Off-Broadway, and in the 1995-96 season was the most-performed play in the United States after Shakespeare productions.

What people say:

"Like sketches for some hilarious, celestially conceived revue. The writing is not only very funny, it has density of thought and precision of poetry … All in the Timing is by a master of fun. David Ives spins hilarity out of words." — New York Times

"Theatre that aerobicizes the brain and tickles the heart. Ives is a mordant comic who has put the play back in playwright … A wondrous wordmaster." — Time Magazine

"An original turn of mind is to be saluted in our tired theatre…A playwright with ideas, his own ideas, in his head is relatively rare. Such a one is David Ives." — New York Magazine

About the Playwright:

David Ives is an American playwright, screenwriter, and novelist who was born in Chicago and educated at Northwestern University and Yale School of Drama. He is perhaps best known for his evenings of comic one-act comedies, a reputation which resulted in the The New York Times referring to him as the "maestro of the short form". A former Guggenheim Fellow in playwriting, he has also written dramatic plays, narrative stories, and screenplays. He lives in New York City.

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