Thursday, September 29, 2016

It's Been a Couple of Decades, But I Finally Saw David Ive's 10-Minute Scripts Performed On Stage @FairfieldU

David Ives, Playwright
My history with ten-minute plays begins in 2002, when a student wanted to resurrect a rather dead theater department at the J. Graham Brown School in Louisville, Kentucky. I was reluctant to sign on, but then I attended a 10-minute play festival at Actor's Theater (down the street from the school) and said, "I could do that." Of course, I also participated in the Louisville Writing Project and spent a part of my summer crafting my own scripts and playing more with the genre. In short, my juniors wrote the scripts that were performed every year.

Naturally, I needed models for my kids and I began with Free To Be You and Me, "Boy Meets Girl." I also taught Euripides, but that wasn't as approachable to the fun, fast, and lively 10-minute scripts. So, we watched MadTv and Saturday Night Live. I discovered playwright David Ives in a local book store, and the rest is history. Decades of student-written ten-minute play festivals in Louisville, the introduction of the genre in Syracuse and hosting several workshops that have led teachers to mentor award-winning student scripts, and now the 4th year of collaborating with Shaun Mitchell of Central High School on their own 10-minute play festival.

That is why I was thrilled to read the following when the new academic year began:
The Academy Players of Fairfield University return to the stage to present four performances of All in the Timing: Five Short Comedies by David Ives at the Wien Experimental Theater at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts from Wednesday, Sept. 28 through Saturday, Oct. 1 at 8 p.m.
I've taught Ives, but I've never seen his work produced, other than "deconstructing" the genre with my students. Actually, I've led workshops all over the nation where I hand out "Time Flies" as a model for adults to read at home (learning that many teach it to high school students...which I shied away from). 

Jerelyn Johnson and Shawn Rafalski nailed the parts as Mae and Horace. It was also a riot to see Paul Lakeland as Attenborough. I was partial to that script, in particular (and critical), but they totally pulled it off. In fact, they exceeded what I anticipated: great wings, wonderful glasses, phenomenal pantomime, great timing, hilarious facial expression, and brilliant campiness. I loved every second of their performance. They were incredible. Also, I thoroughly enjoyed the magnificent timing of Andrea MacAdam and Don Gibson in "Sure Thing" (nice job hitting the block, too, Charlene Wallace). The other scripts by Ives were equally well-performed and, without a doubt, they did the writer justice. Lisa and Steve Sawin also rocked it.

What a great way to spend a Wednesday night and I now have a checkmark for my bucket list. I finally saw the written work staged and it was as delightful as I expected. I know there are other performances this week (and they are selling out fast). If possible, try to get a ticket. The show put oomph and spark to an otherwise gray, and pre-hibernal week.


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