Time Flies and Others by Ives
David Ives is one of the great verbal comic playwrights of our time- his plays require a dextrous facility with language and a childlike sense of wonder. Fortunately, Bohemian Archeology's production doesn't fail to deliver on either count, as a cast of 8 works their funny to the bone in Bohemian Archeology's presentation of 6 of his one-acts.
Two mayflies in the midst of a date discover, from a Nature TV show, that they only have till dawn to live.
Amy Broder and Jordan Coughtry are adorably awkward and very funny as the mayflies, and Collin Mackenzie Smith milks David Attenborough for all he's worth.
Degas, C'est Moi
A man awakens one day and decides to be Edgar (or is it Edouard?) Degas.
Nathan Kaufman shines in this piece, which is mainly a monologue. Kaufman's pitch-perfect delivery carries the piece from the merely funny to the sublime. Amy Broder is perfectly distracted as Doris, and Mr. Coughtry and Emily Madison are continually surprising as everyone and everything else.
Dr. Fritz, or: The Forces of Light
A tourist in an unspecified Latin country comes looking for the highly recommended Dr. Fritz, and instead finds a slightly crazed woman named Maria.
Mr. Kaufman is wonderful again as Tom, the tourist. Jordana Kritzer (who directed all the plays) makes an appearance onstage as Maria- though she is excellent in the role, I was amused that she cast herself in the only female role in the evening that had any real substance.
Babel's in Arms
Two construction workers on the Tower of Babel try to shirk their infinite amount of work.
David LeDoux and Collin MacKenzie Smith are Gorph and Cannaphlit, the workers, and are an hilarious team, carrying the bulk of the play. Jessica Ires Morris is a powerful presence as a Businesswoman in charge of the construction, Ms. Madison is adorable as the High ("she sure looks high to me") Priestess, and Mr. Coughtry is hilarious as the Eunuch servant.
One of Ives' sweeter pieces, a tourist in Araby is looking for a souvenir, and ends up, due to his meddling Interpreter, falling in love with the saleslady.
This was charmingly performed by Mr. LeDoux as Norman, Ms. Morris as Flora, and a bearded Ms. Broder as the Interpreter. I was somewhat disturbed that they changed the ending (at least the one in my book) to something a little more cynical.
The Mystery at Twicknam Vicarage
A parody of "Masterpiece Theatre" style, an inspector comes to investigate the shooting of Jeremy Thumpington-Fuh-Fuh-Fines.
This is a personal favorite of mine, and the cast handles it superbly. Ms. Morris is perfectly droll as Sarah, Ms. Madison is delightfully high-strung as Mona (perhaps a bit too much so at times, but that's a direction issue), and Mr. Smith is the wonderful dead bastard, Jeremy.
All are great, but it's Mr. Coughtry and Mr. Kaufman who steal the scene as the very dramatic Inspector and the hilariously accented Roger.
I laughed and laughed at the entire evening, there's nary a time when the pace flags, aside from the moments between scenes, some of which were a little long.
The order of the scenes seems to have been chosen somewhat haphazardly, e.g. Mr. LeDoux is in only two scenes, and they're placed back-to-back, during which he has to change from nearly naked* to a suit; Ms. Morris doesn't appear on stage till the last three scenes; The Inspector in Twicknam was still covered in glitter from his appearance as the Eunuch in Babel's.
According to the press kit, these plays were all chosen because they had something to do with time, but I thought more of them had to do with God, or possibly class relations, but then all of those categories are so broad; and especially in Mr. Ives' work, God, Time, and Social Relations are bound to pop up.
If you want a good night of laughs (and excellent food- there is a $15 food and drink minimum on top of the $20 ticket), head out to see this.
* As per the script of Babel's in Arms, Gorph and Cannaphlit are in red and blue kilt-like outfits, and little else. Either the costume designer should have made them a little looser and longer, or the men need to learn to keep their legs together when sitting down, especially when the audience is at eye-level with their crotches. Not that the terribly attractive Mr. LeDoux has anything to worry about (rowr), but the apparatuses on display distracted from the scene from time to time.
Time Flies and Others by Ives
Presented by Bohemian Archaology at
The Laurie Beechman Theater
407 W 42nd St.
Saturdays at 9:30PM in June
Mondays at 7:00PM in July
Tickets $20 through Smarttix.com (212-868-4444)
Plus $15 food and drink minimum at the space.
Photos by JOHN QUILTY
JORDANA KRITZER (standing) and NATHAN KAUFMAN (Dr. Fritz, or: The Forces of Light)
NATHAN KAUFMAN and JORDAN COUGHTRY (The Mystery at Twicknam Vicarage)
From This Author Duncan Pflaster