Its All in the Timing: Reflections on HB’s Winter Play

By Carys Bowen

On February 22 and 23 at 7:30 pm in the Black Box, HB’s winter play All in the Timing was performed. All in the Timing is by David Ives and is a series of short, one-act plays. My grandmother, who saw the show on both nights, thoroughly enjoyed it. Because of this, I recently interviewed her. Here are some excerpts from that conversation.

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Question:

      What were your first reactions to the show?

Answer:

      Before the show even started, I was attracted by the backdrop with the clock and the varied shapes around it and the fact that they carried different patterns at different times. And the music fit in every part that music was played. The zeitgeist was there. The play was set up before it even started. When it was over, I thought, each playlet had something to say to us and what I found interesting about it is that each one of them somehow went from the specific individual to the universal. There was something to chew on after each one.

      Also, I will never look at a clock the same way again. I mean, I look at my watch and I think about timing in the play, and the next thing that pops into my head is, “but what time really is it?” and I ask, “where am I in time?”

Question:

      What were the differences you found between the two days?

Answer:

      Well, on Saturday the audience was more raucous. The laughter was louder. You could feel the vibrations going between the audience and the stage. Friday’s audience was more older people, and so it wasn’t so loud. We held it in. Even so, the Friday audience was very interested and totally immersed in what was happening on stage. I could feel that interest around me.

Question:

      What was your favorite part of the show?

Answer:

      That’s too hard. I had so many favorite parts. One of them would be seeing the three monkeys in “Words, Words, Words.” I have a literary bent so I know Jonathan Swift, Franz Kafka, and John Milton, and to see them as monkeys or as chimpanzees was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.

      I am also amazed at Don (Jasmine Hanna-Funk) and Dawn (Abby Poulos) in Universal Language, because performing in that playlet had to have been a monumental task. And how they’ll ever speak straight English again, I don’t know.

Question:

      What part made you think the most?

Answer:

      I have to say, each one of the playlets required thinking. They required work on the part of the audience to get it. The kind of attention that one needs to pay in a play that requires reflection and pondering — your attention can’t flag.

      “The Philadelphia” made me think about opposites, which I’ve never really done before. In the Philadelphia, you had to say opposite of want, which I didn’t get at first. But when I did get it, I started thinking in opposites, and then I realized that that only works in a Philadelphia.

      “Variations on the Death of Trotsky,” was, to me, a lesson on the eyewitness. Because that’s how it goes in real life with eyewitnesses. It’s always different. And it can’t be relied upon.

Question:

      How did this show compare to other shows you’ve seen?

Answer:

      I would say it stands apart from most of the things I’ve seen because none of them have been in this kind of a format. I would say about the acting, the staging, the costuming, the pace, the timing, if you will — those things were all right up there with the best — better than most academic plays I’ve ever seen. And I think it was a fitting play for a high school to do, because it stretched you so far. I don’t think one can really compare academic to professional, but I felt this show was of the highest order.

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      Today, weeks later, my grandma is still thinking about the play. “If you had had that play seven nights in a row,” she told me, “I would have gone to every night, and gotten something new each time.”