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.”