Words, words, words! ‘All In The Timing’ offers a clever comic quandary of speech vs. meaning

all-in-timing-posterLock three chimpanzees in a room with typewriters. Could they eventually write “Hamlet”? What if they shared an affinity with three famous authors?

If a construction worker announced he was the Lindbergh baby, would you believe him? And, if you went on a first date and said the wrong thing, would you like to start the conversation all over?

Odd questions, and seemingly unrelated, but they form the premise of some zany scenes in David Ives’ “All In The Timing.”

The play will be staged at the Clatsop Community College Performing Arts Center in Astoria in January. The production is directed by Edward James of Astoria and features a cast of North Coast actors. It has five comic segments which share a focus on words, language and almost inevitable miscommunications.

Written in 1993 and first staged Off-Broadway, the contrasting scenes highlight often existentialist perspectives on life. Several are complicated by romance, although none proceeds perfectly.

“Sure Thing” features a man and a woman who meet in a cafe. Neither can immediately tell the truth, but they are magically given repeated chances to try again.
“Words, Words, Words” eavesdrops on three classic authors imprisoned with a seemingly impossible task, fueled by bananas and cigarettes.
“The Universal Language” shows a shy woman trying to overcome loneliness through language. Can she trust the man who helps her?
“The Philadelphia” showcases two men in a cafe apparently trapped in different pockets of reality, served by a waitress who seems determined to mess up their orders.
“Mere Mortals” introduces three construction workers perched high on a half-built skyscraper revealing their true identities. European royalty? Surely it cannot be so?

David Ives is an American playwright, screenwriter, and novelist, born in Chicago, educated at Yale but based in New York. Although he has written many scripts and adaptations of full-length plays, his skill in writing one-act comedies prompted the New York Times to label him the “maestro of the short form.”

The Astoria performances are produced with permission of Dramatists Play Service, Inc.