All in the Timing - David Ives

996 WordsApr 4, 20114 Pages
All In The Timing The plays of David Ives are certainly clever and comic. There is no doubt that Ives gives us inventive scenarios that smartly use language and test our knowledge before we chuckle. But what does it all mean, anyway? What do we gain from the techniques he uses in the one-act plays of All in the Timing? Are they meaningful works, or simply highfalutin vignettes? To answer these questions, let’s consider three of his plays: “Words, Words, Words,” “Variations on the Death of Trotsky,” and “The Philadelphia.” By examining these works, it will be clear that the devices Ives uses do little more than facilitate the telling of humorous sketches, and that they don’t generate any substance or lasting meaning. “Words, Words,…show more content…
Another very clever play, “The Philadelphia,” attempts to explain the pitfalls and denials of life as the result of metaphysically falling into another city and another state of mind. It opens with Al, who is happily in a Los Angeles; and then in comes Mark, stuck in a state of punishment: a Philadelphia, where “no matter what you ask for, you can’t get it” (72). This is an intriguing explanation for life’s problems, and one that provides a handful of laughs. It also offers us some interesting thoughts on language, and how effective it is in the world. For we’ve all had days when it seems the words we utter are powerless. But in the end, the play seems more like a comedy sketch or skit that fails to give any insight into life – other than the chance to laugh. Not that laughing isn’t of value, but it doesn’t prove that Ives’ approach has brought any great meaning into the play. How many times can this play be watched or read before its novelty wears off? In conclusion, it’s certain Ives’ work is intriguing and full of wit. What is in question is if the techniques he uses achieve a greater, lasting meaning in his plays. What’s clear is that these techniques are inventive and clever, but that they don’t generate any truly meaningful plays that people can return to again and again and get something more, something new each time. It’s interesting that “Words, Words, Words” parodies Hamlet, which is a play that is unquestionably meaningful. Hamlet is a play that

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