How David Ives Does It…

David Ives’s Quick-Hit Approach To Staging the Human Comedy

Published in The New York Times, January 4, 1994

In the world of the playwright David Ives, situations float at the far edge of the social map and quickly drift off into uncharted territory.

A shy young woman with a stutter shows up for a language lesson and ends up speaking fluent Unamunda, an Esperanto-like tongue that, unbeknownst to her, she is making up on the spot. Three monkeys with typewriters bicker over the problem of trying to write “Hamlet.” A man offers advice to a friend who’s stuck in “a Philadelphia,” a perverse parallel universe in which basic needs, like cheese in an omelet, can never be satisfied. The man tells his friend not to worry, to flow with it. But then again, he would; he’s stuck in a terminally laid-back state known as “a Los Angeles.”

For several weeks, audiences have been dancing to Mr. Ives’s peculiar mental rhythms at Primary Stages, the Off Broadway theater where six of his one-act plays (two of them new) have been bundled together under the title “All in the Timing.” Propelled by strong reviews, the show has been extended twice, now to Feb. 13, when it will move to a new location, not yet decided upon. Emotional Progress

In Ivesland, events move very quickly. Mr. Ives specializes in 15-minute blitzes that illuminate what he calls “the weirdness of being alive.”

Read the full story here.

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Mary Sansone and Kyle Johnson in the Hilberry Theatre’s production of ALL IN THE TIMING.

’All in the Timing’ is a candy sampler of Ives’ Special Humor

Playwright David Ives finds his timing perfectly

NEW YORK (AP) — There was a moment this past December in Paris when playwright David Ives achieved what he calls “a moment of maximum fabulosity.”

Film director Roman Polanski had invited him to a snazzy cafe to talk more about adapting his Tony Award-nominated play “Venus in Fur” into a movie when the pair spotted the chic “God of Carnage” playwright Yasmina Reza sitting with a distinguished-looking gentleman. After the trio exchanged greetings, the mysterious man was introduced as renowned writer Milan Kundera, whose books include “The Unbearable Lightness of Being.”

It was all a little surreal for Ives, who maintains a down-to-earth modesty even though he’s kind of a big thing, too. “You feel like your brain is going to start on fire. You feel like burning phosphorous in company like that,” he recalls of the meeting, laughing. “What do you say to Milan Kundera? ‘How is your crepe?’”

Heady stuff indeed, but Ives, a wire-thin man who favors gin martinis as dry as his wit, is enjoying quite a bit of limelight after steadily building an unorthodox career first as a playwright of one-act comedies and lately as a sought-after theatrical medic.

The playwright is this month celebrating the 20th anniversary of his first big success — “All in the Timing” — a collection of six short plays that he jokes “catapulted me into obscurity.”

Read the full story here.

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Bevin Bell-Hall, Brandy Joe Plambeck, and Mary Sansone during rehearsal for ALL IN THE TIMING.


From a blind date that resets at the ring of a bell to three chimpanzees writing the first draft of a Shakespearean play, there is madness for all tastes as the Hilberry Theatre Company presents All in the Timing by David Ives. This production will feature eight of Ives’ one-act plays, and will be performed in repertory — opening on Friday, November 21, 2014 and running through January 31, 2015.


Actor: Brandon Grantz; Photo by Sofia Sanchez and Ian Wolfe

First seen off-Broadway in 1993 and in a 2013 revival at New York’s Primary Stages, All in the Timing is a collection of comedic scenes that are simultaneously intelligent and perplexing. A master comedy writer, Ives wrote these unusual and intentionally absurd plots to create an environment that’s fast-paced and energetic while stimulating the mind. This show is sure to entertain audience members of all ages!

All in the Timing is directed by Wayne State University’s Dr. David Magidson, Professor of Theatre. Magidson is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin (BA and MA) and the University of Utah (PhD). He teaches directing and playwriting, and has directed nearly eighty plays for fifteen different theatre companies. Magidson also serves as co-director of WSU’s Center for the Arts and Public Policy and director of the Jewish Community Center’s Lenore Marwil Jewish Film Festival.

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From Left to Right: Cheryl Turski (Movement Direction), Brandy Joe Plambeck (Baker), Tiffany Michelle Thompson (Woman #2), Brandon Grantz (Philip Glass), and Annie Keris (Woman #1); Photo by Maxwell C. Bolton

Tickets for All in the Timing range from $10–$30 and are available by calling the Hilberry Theatre Box Office at (313) 577-2972, online at, or by visiting the box office at 4743 Cass Avenue at the corner of Hancock Street.

The Hilberry’s 2014-15 Season also includes William Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy Romeo & Juliet (October 24-December 13); The Way of the World, William Congreve’s mockery of the upper-class (January 16-March 7); and Arthur Miller’s adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s classic drama An Enemy of the People (February 20-March 28), playing in repertory. The season will close with Patrick Barlow’s hilarious spoof of Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps (April 10-25).

Calendar Information
Wednesday 2 p.m.          December 3 (Post show Talkback)
Thursday 8 p.m.                December 4 (Preshow Discussion), January 29
Friday 8 p.m.                      November 21 (Opening Night), December 5, January 30
Saturday 2 p.m.                November 22, January 31
Saturday 8 p.m.                November 22, December 6, January 31

Cast (in alphabetical order by last name per act)

Sure Thing
Santino Craven (Bill) and Tiffany Michelle Thompson (Betty)

Words, Words, Words
Bevin Bell-Hall (Swift), Brandon Grantz of Dearborn Heights (Milton), and Brandy Joe Plambeck of Ferndale (Kafka)

The Universal Language
Kyle Mitchell Johnson (Don), Mary Sansone (Dawn), and Annie Keris (Young Woman)

Philip Glass Buys a Loaf of Bread
Brandon Grantz (Philip Glass), Annie Keris (Woman #1), Tiffany Michelle Thompson (Woman #2), Brandy Joe Plambeck (Baker)

The Philadelphia
Bevin Bell-Hall (Waitress), Brandon Grantz (Al), and Kyle Mitchell Johnson (Mark)

Time Flies
Kyle Mitchell Johnson (Horace), Mary Sansone (May), and Brandy Joe Plambeck (David Attenborough)

Variations on the Death of Trotsky
Brandy Joe Plambeck (Trotsky), Tiffany Michelle Thompson (Mrs.Trotsky), and Santino Craven (Ramon)

Seven Menus
Brandy Joe Plambeck of Ferndale (Jack), Tiffany Michelle Thompson (Ruth), Annie Keris (Hazel), Brandon Grantz (Paul), Kyle Mitchell Johnson (Barry), Mary Sansone (Dawn), Santino Craven (Fluff), and Bevin Bell-Hall (Phyllis)

Production Team:
Dr. David Magidson (Director), Allison Baker (Stage Manager), Courtney Rasor (Asst. Stage Manager), Max Amitin (Scenic Design), Michael Sabourin of Royal Oak (Properties Master), Sammi Geppert (Costume Designer), Heather DeFauw (Lighting Design), Brian Dambacher (Technical Director), Mario Raymond (Sound Designer), Maxwell Bolton of Birmingham (Publicist), Dale Dorlin of Detroit (Associate Publicist).

The Hilberry Theatre Returns to its Classic and Educational Roots with Shakespeare’s ROMEO & JULIET

The Hilberry Theatre’s 52nd season continues with William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, returning to the Hilberry stage for the first time since 2006. The production plays from October 24 to December 13, 2014, with additional student matinees scheduled throughout early 2015. Tickets range from $10 – $31 and can be purchased by calling the box office at (313) 577-2972, online at, or in person at 4743 Cass Avenue on the corner of Hancock Street.

Director Blair Anderson and the production team offer a fresh, contemporary take Romeo & Juliet Modelon Shakespeare’s well-known tale of Verona’s star-crossed lovers. Anderson emphasizes “young love” as a theme, with a specific focus on Juliet’s interpretation of the events. Tonae Mitsuhasi, a second year student in the Hilberry program, creates an immersive scenic design resembling a large art installation that fills the entire theatre.

Anderson returns to directing on the Hilberry stage following last season’s successfulshows Moon Over Buffalo, Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, and Big Love. He is a long-time Wayne State faculty member, whose directing highlights include Hamlet, Great Expectations, Scapin, The Tempest, Translations, Brighton Beach Memoirs, and A Winter’s Tale.Juliet Publicity PhotoThe Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance continues its commitment to arts education with this production. A season-long morning matinee series furthers the Hilberry’s tradition of introducing classic theatre to students within the greater metro Detroit community. Performances of Shakespeare’s Macbeth during the 2013-14 season reached over 3,000 middle and high school students.

Cast (in alphabetical order):
Bevin Bell-Hall (Benvolia), Miles Boucher (Romeo), Devri Chism (Juliet), Julian David Colletta (Balthasar), Santino Craven (Tybalt/Apothecary), Brandon Grantz (Mercutio/Friar John), Logan Hart (Sampson/Watchmen), Kyle Mitchell Johnson (Prince/Peter), Danté Jones (Understudy–Friar Larence), Annie Keris (Lady Montague), Michael Manocchio (Paris), Sarah Hawkins Moan (Nurse), Taylor Morrow (Dancer), Chris Peterson (Abram/Page), Brandy Joe Plambeck (Friar Lawrence), Mary Sansone (Gregory), Kendall Rose Talbot (Dancer), Michael Phillip Thomas (Capulet), Tiffany Michelle Thompson (Lady Capulet)

Production Team:Romeo & Juliet Rendering
Blair Anderson (Director), Sarah Drum (Stage Manager), Allison Baker (Asst. Stage Manager), Tonae Mitsuhashi (Scenic Design), Anne Suchyta (Costume Designer), Heather DeFauw (Lighting Design), Mario Raymond (Sound Designer), Brian Dambacher (Technical Director), Stephanie Baugher (Properties Master), David Sterritt (Fight Choreographer), Kevin Replinger (Publicist), JP Hitesman (Asst. Publicist)

About the Hilberry Theatre Company:
Wayne State University’s Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance serves students as a nexus of performance, production, and research in the fields of theatre and dance. It provides a wide choice of degree programs that allow students the flexibility to study these disciplines broadly or to concentrate more specifically in performance, design, or management.

The Hilberry Theatre hosts a professional theatre company that is staffed by graduate students and runs on a rotating repertory schedule.  Each academic year, about forty graduate students receive assistantships to work for the Hilberry Theatre and study for advanced degrees. The company performs and produces an annual season of six plays, including high school matinees for nearly 6,000 students. For box office hours and information on performances, tickets, group discounts, and corporate packages, visit the theatre’s website at

Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering more than 370 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 29,000 students.


A Little History About BOEING BOEING


Miles Boucher and Brandy Joe Plambeck. Photo by Bruce Giffin

French playwright Marc Camoletti’s classic farce, Boeing Boeing, premiered at the Théâtre de la Comédie-Caumartin in Paris in December, 1960. It ran in Paris for 19 years, and, with several translations, has since become the most produced French play in history, setting a Guinness World Record in 1991.

The English-language translation by Beverley Cross and Francis Evans opened in London’s West End in 1962, starring David Tomlinson, later of Mary Poppins fame, and ran for seven years. It was not as well-received in America, closing after only 23 performances in 1965 on Broadway at the Cort Theatre.


Annie Keris and Brandon Grantz. Photo by Bruce Giffin.

Boeing Boeing has seen numerous adaptations, including the 1965 Paramount Pictures big screen adaptation with Tony Curtis & Jerry Lewis. That film was the last one that Jerry Lewis made with Paramount Pictures, ending a quarter of a century of exclusive work with the studio. The film has been remade twice in India: first in 1985 and again as a younger, hipper version in 2005. The original film was selected by Quentin Tarantino for the first Quentin Tarantino Film Festival hosted by the Austin Film Society in Austin, Texas, 1996.

Boeing Boeing was adapted by W!LD RICE production in Singapore in 2002, and the company revisited, modernized, and relocated this classic comedy to present-day Asia, while keeping faithful to the text and the spirit of the play.

A sequel to Boeing Boeing, Don’t Dress for Dinner opened in Paris in 1987, under the title Pajamas Pour Six, and ran for over two years. An English‐language adaptation premiered in London at the Apollo Theatre in 1991 and ran for six years. It had a limited run on Broadway in 2012.

The Comedy Theatre revival in London in 2007 received two Olivier Award nominations – including one for best revival. This time American audiences were more receptive; Boeing Boeing won the 2008 Tony Award for best revival, when an adapted version played at Broadway’s Longacre Theatre. The New York Times raved, “This latest edition of a play named for an aircraft soars right out of its time zone and into some unpolluted stratosphere of classic physical comedy.”

marc  camelotti

Marc Camoletti

Marc Camoletti’s plays have been performed in over 50 countries in several languages. In Paris alone, 20,000 performances have been done of 18 different plays. This remarkable artist passed away in 2003, in Deauville, on the coast of Normandy. He is buried with his wife in Montmarte Cemetery in Paris, the final resting place of another great master of French farce, Georges Feydeau.

For tickets and information about the Hilberry Theatre’s current production of Boeing Boeing, visit

VIDEO: “Stone Soup: A Wrap Opera” – FINAL Weekend at Hilberry!


Here is another small clip from the WSU Children’s Summer Theatre production, “Stone Soup: A Wrap Opera.” This hip-hop retelling of the classic folk tale is currently touring to Detroit Public Schools and will be having its closing weekend at The Hilberry Theatre from June 26-29! For tickets and info, go to:

STONE SOUP: A Wrap Opera comes to The Hilberry June 19-29!


Here is a small clip from the WSU Children’s Summer Theatre production, Stone Soup: A Wrap Opera. This hip-hop retelling of the classic folk tale is currently touring to Detroit Public Schools and will be coming to The Hilberry Theatre from June 19-29! For tickets and info, go to: