David Ives' All In The Timing at Kolowrat

Seven short plays capture the feel of New York in the 1980s

After doing all of Shakespeare's plays last year, Prague Shakespeare Company is branching out a bit to other authors, and also partnering more with other local companies. Their next production is All In The Timing – An Evening of Mini-Plays by David Ives, directed by Derek DeWitt and Debbie Wilson DeWitt. The play runs March 23–25 at divadlo Kolowrat.

From the late 1980s to the mid-90s, playwright David Ives wrote a series of comic mini-plays, between five and 20 minutes in length. Six of them were collected together as All in the Timing, and performed in New York to some acclaim.

The plays won the Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Playwriting Award and was nominated for the Drama Desk Award for Best Play. They went on to become popular in schools and with student groups, as there are a lot of parts, and the plays are not long.

“They’re also very clever – lots of language play and comical treatment of tropes of the Manhattan intellectual scene. For example, a joke on the Infinite Monkey Theorem, where monkeys typing for infinity would randomly produce a perfect copy of Hamlet, but seen from the monkeys’ perspectives, who wonder what it’s all about. And one play is primarily in a made up language called Unamunda, which is really a twisting of English words and terms, along with words from German, Yiddish, French and Italian, to comic effect – all very New York,” Derek DeWitt said.

“Twenty-four years later, some of the references seem a bit dated but the combination of language play, a fond satire of social conversation, and a real understanding of how people talk to one another in order to try and connect with others, make these plays still pretty relevant,” he said, adding that some of the language has been localized.

This is the second project for Alabaster Cat after their production of Measure for Measure. The new company is run by Derek and Debbie Wilson DeWitt. When offered the opportunity to partner on future projects, they started reading scripts. “Lots and lots of them. But when we came across these Ives mini-plays, we fell in love with them. They’re funny, they’re clever and they’re also rather tender. Plus, Prague as a theater town is an unusual place – everything is in rep here, and actors are constantly working on several projects at once. In fact, scheduling was the biggest challenge. So we though short plays would be better suited to the Prague scene,” Derek said.

It was still a challenge. “When All in the Timing was first performed in 1993 (and again in 2013), there were 11 actors doing 17 roles in 6 plays – we have seven actors doing 24 roles in 7 plays (we’ve cut one play usually performed and added two others). But they are incredibly challenging pieces – most of the dialogue is rapid-fire, and the context for the conversations changes at a moment’s notice. As the collection says, it really is all in the timing,” he said.

Derek is hoping the cast he has assembled will continue on in future Alabaster Cat productions.

We are very excited to have this as our first independent Alabaster Cat project, and it’s been great working with PSC on this. And our cast is just fantastic – we hope we are assembling a pool of people we can work with on future projects,” he said.

“Though everyone involved with All in the Timing comes from different backgrounds, one thing we have in common is the desire to give something back to Prague. … Alabaster Cat is a chance for us to give something back to the people who live and visit this city, and participate in the vibrant cultural scene that is erupting all over town,” he concluded.

Prague Shakespeare Company, which is a partner of this event, would not exist without support of the public and sponsors.

In particular PSC wishes to thank JUDr. Dominika Kolowrat-Krakowska, Maximilian Kolowrat-Krakowsky and Francesca Kolowrat-Krakowska for their selfless and generous support.

For more information visit: www.pragueshakespeare.com/events

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