Theatre Antigonish presented All in the Timing at Bauer from March 6-10, 2018. All in the Timing is a drop-dead laughing anthology written by David Ives. David is a graduate from the Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Arts in 1971 and from the Yale School of Drama with a Master of Fine Arts in 1984.
The anthology originated from six one-acts that received the Outer Critics Circle Playwriting Award. A total of seven comedies and one tragedy made up the production directed by Andrea Boyd.
A call bell often reset and reoriented the dialogue between a couple of strangers in act one. It became a savior of the dead-end conversation. The call bell reminded me of absurdity in Samuel Beckett’s Ping. The technique is a critique of small-talk conversational conventions.
The appearance by Justin Gregg, 2017-2018 Board of Director at Theater Antigonish, as Don was a delightful surprise in act two. Justin did some freelance writing for The Huffington Post, BBC Earth and The Wall Street Journal. Justin also did some voice acting for The Ugly Duckling and Me! and Thor: Legend of the Magical Hammer.
Justin is a graduate with a PhD from the School of Psychology at Trinity College Dublin in 2008. Having studied dolphin social cognition in-depth, the science writer is author of books Twenty-Two Fantastical Facts about Dolphins and Are Dolphins Really Smart?.
Beloved Antigonish resident, Majd Al Zhouri was one of six talented actors to animate three characters in the play. These actors ought to be praised for their skill in bringing 18 states of mind to life; each persona with a distinguishable costume, voice and mannerism.
The small cast of 12 indicates a need for aspiring actors to audition for Theatre Antigonish productions. In fact, All in the Timing replaced the highly anticipated Metamorphoses by Mary Zimmerman. Metamorphoses was postponed due to a shortage of people who auditioned for the production.
One of All in the Timing’s qualities was its minimalist stage props. As much as a costume, a table and a beer sustained the audience’s suspension of disbelief during the entire act five.
Act six involved three monkeys named Milton, Kafka and Swift trying to write Hamlet on typewriters. The act satirizes a study of animal language acquisition (Codename 6.001) at Columbia University led by Herbert S. Terrace. This act and others were riddled with allusions to literary works and authors of them.
One consistent allusion was to the epic hero, Don Juan. Pre-intermission, a universal linguist charmer named Don predictably got the girl at the end of the act. Post-intermission, three direct references to “Don Juan” flooded the dialogue.
David wrote a full-length play titled Don Juan in Chicago. Safe to say the playwright was inspired by the satirical work of Lord Byron.
Theatre Antigonish’s next production at Bauer is the One-Act Play Festival running between March 22-24, 2018. The annual Festival features amateur theatre groups and individual performers.