ALL IN THE TIMING: an evening of short comedies by David Ives

  • Studio Production

  • Durham Studio Theater

  • March 15-18, 2018
  • Thursday, Friday & Saturday at 8pm; Saturday & Sunday at 2pm
  • Buy Tickets

Students, Seniors, and Cal Staff & Faculty: $10. ID required.
General Admission: $15

Written by David Ives
Directed by TDPS Students

Join us for an evening of four one-act comedies drawn from the collection of award-winning playwright David Ives, and directed, designed and performed by TDPS students. Ives’s offbeat sketches mix the witty and the wise-cracking, the surreal and the satiric, and the poetic and the perplexing. They will leave audiences laughing long after they leave the theater.

The evening’s four pieces take on the absurdity of being alive and the possibilities of human connection:

Time Flies – directed by Angelina Steshenko
English Made Simple – directed by Ceylan Ersoy
The Universal Language – directed by Tanvi Agrawal
Sure Thing – directed by Carmel Suchard 

The show opens Thursday, March 15, 2018 and continues through Sunday, March 18, 2018 in the Durham Studio Theater on the UC Berkeley campus. Tickets are $10 – $15 and can be purchased online through the TDPS Box Office at or at the door. Ives’s clever style of humor is decidedly intellectual, mixing quick-witted wordplay, poetic conception, and outlandish surrealism. TDPS Associate Professor Peter Glazer, who is mentoring the student directors, says: “David Ives presents a demanding language style. The directors are learning to connect with his unconventional sense of humor and make it accessible to an audience—to bring his offbeat conceit to life.”

Time Flies, directed by Angelina Steshenko, follows two mayflies on their first date. They are interrupted by Sir David Attenborough, who informs them that their lives only last 24 hours. A one-night stand quickly turns into a mid-life crisis, as the brokenhearted bugs try to find a solution. “My hope for the audience, ” says Steshenko, “is that they’ll think about how lucky we are as humans to get more than one day to live and we shouldn’t waste any of those days.”  

In English Made Simple, Jack and Jill meet at a party and proceed through a series of revealing relationship vignettes—punctuated by a solemn narrator who offers grammatical insight into what each person is really thinking as they speak. Director Ceylan Ersoy says, “The first time I read this one-act, it was as if I were reading dialogues I’ve had in my own life – a brutal revelation of what actually goes on in a daily human interaction. The stage reflects the truths that we avoid, and the reason it’s so funny is because we see ourself in the characters.”

The Universal Language follows a shy woman with a stutter as she places her faith in a language tutor who promises to teach her the (made-up) universal language “Unamunda.” Almost entirely scripted in absurd gibberish, this one-act is gleefully silly and strangely profound as the two discover a true connection. “My goal,” says Director Tanvi Agrawal, “ is that audiences will walk away thinking about the many nuances and complexities that hide below the surface of ‘normal’ human behavior. I want them to be perplexed at how it’s possible to communicate a story without conventional language.”

Sure Thing cheekily explores the many possibilities of conversation. Would-be couple Bill and Betty meet at a coffee shop and attempt to connect, continually stumbling or winding up in a dead-end. But every time they blunder, a merciful bell resets the conversation, resulting in a second, third, or even fourth chance to make a good impression. The beautiful message within each of the four David Ives plays brings forward a little quirk about human relationships,” says director Carmel Suchard. “I think audiences will leave with a smile on their face.”