The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, February 17, 2000, Page 9, Image 9

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By Josh Nichols
Staff writer
Imagine a play that involves six short skits with
subjects as diverse as a man trying to pick up a
woman in a restaurant, three monkeys trying to
type “Hamlet” or a man walking around with an ax
in his head not willing to accept the fact that he has
Incorporate dancers in between scenes per
forming to swing, ’70s Bob Fosse and ’90s hip-hop
music. • ..... ; •
“How could a director and cast ever do this?”
one might ask.
Will, if the
those involved in
ater department’s latest pi
tion, they’ll tell you, “It’s V
in the Timing.’”
rremienng tonight
at 7:30 in thf Howell :
Theatre, the ||NL the
ater department will pre
sent David Ives’ comedy
of six one-acts, “All in
die Timing.”
The six short scenes,
each approximately 12
1 minutes long,1have noth
ing in common with one
another except for one
shared principle - tim
The first act, “Sure
Thing,” is set in a cafe
similar to die one seen in
the television, sitcom
“Friends,” said Gretchen
Kuhr, stage manager for
the performance.
The open set with a
sofa sitting in front of a
brick wall simply
involves an interaction
between a man and a
In the beginning, the
man tries to pick up on
the woman. When he
fails, a bell rings, allow
ing him to start aver and
try again
This happens repeat
edly, interrupting the
individuals’ stammers,
blunders and missteps.
This happens until
eventually they get it
The second act, *
“Words, Words, Words,”
enacts an old tale that
said, given enough time,
three monkeys will even
tually type “Hamlet.”
In this scene, one
gets to see what the three
monkeys would talk
The three monkeys,
played by Eric
Underwood, Heidi Maus
and Jeff Barwig, do not
wear monkey costumes,
but one can immediately
tell they are monkeys.
“They are wearing
little clothes like, mon
keys would wear, and die
female monkey is wear
ing a baby doll kind of a 4
dress,” Kuhr said. “It’s
absolutely hysterical.”
The story line is
based on the conflicting
views the monkeys have about the task they have
set out to do.
Eric Underwood, who plays the monkey Swift,
is not happy with the experiment.
“I am die one that thinks this is a totally dumb
idea and a waste of my time,” he said. “I am trying
to persuade the other two that they should join in a
collaboration against the doctor that is holding us.”
Jeff Barwig’s character, Milton, disagrees.
“Milton thinks we’ve gotten a sweet deal,” he
said. “He’s happy we’re not in Africa swinging
Play melds
six one-acts
into comedy
from branches, because here the monkeys are pro
vided free food, lodging and a safe environment.”
The third monkey, played by Heidi Maus, tries
to make peace between the other monkeys, but
stays out of the conflict.
Because of this, she eventually ends up typing
• Kuhr said this scene contains vibrant colors
and a tire swing for the monkeys to swing on.
After the monkeys, the focus returns to a man
woman relationship in “The Universal Language.”
The theme involves Dawn, a girl with a stutter
ing problem, who sees an ad in die paper for a lan
guage school.
She and Don, the teacher who created a comi
cal language known as Unamunda, develop a rela
tionship that leads to love.
The act is about the two interacting in this
All in the Timing
WHERE: Howell Theatre
12th and R Streets
WHEN: Student preview
tonight at 7:30 p.m.
■ Performances Feb. 18-19,
22-26 at 7:30 p.m.
COST: $6 for students
THE SKINNY: University
actors do six puzzling,
comical acts.
up language.
After a short intermission, which will feature a
performance by a magician, “Philip Glass Buys a
Loaf of Bread” will be performed.
The scene has carefully selected Philip Glass’
“Einstein on the Beach” music and includes
“amazingly creative, artistic costumes,” Ruhr said.
The story involves a celebrated composer who
experiences a moment of internal crisis while in a
Ruhr described the “incredibly original” scene
as having no story line, yet at die same time having
This act had to be carefully choreographed and
involves the actors magically appearing on stage
by use of a lift.
“The audience will be blown
away,” Kuhr said.
In the fifth on- act, “Philadelphia,”
a man has fallen into a strange, altered
While speaking to a man in a
restaurant and explaining to him that
he has not received anything he has
asked for the entire day, the man
responds by telling him that he is in
! “Philadelphia,” a world in which you
f get the opposite of what you asked for.
He must then learn the process of
acting the opposite of how he has
learned things are supposed to be.
In the final act, “Variations on die
Death of Trotsky,” a Russian revolu
tionary wanders around with a moun
tain-climbing ax literally sticking out
of his head.
He must accept the fact that it is
there and, in the end, does accept it and
walks off into the light.
Timing is the central theme in all
of the acts, but they all also deal with
love, Kuhr said.
The fact that “All in die Timing”
deals with six different individual one
acts with no actors overlapping has
been a challenge for everyone
involved, Kuhr said.
But the challenge was a result of
the director’s wanting to do something
William Grange, associate profes
sor of theater, arts and dance, who is
directing “Ail in the Timing,” said the
show let the cast do a lot of original
“We wanted a show that we could
do a lot with and wanted something
that was very flexible,” he said. “It’s a
very funny show, and it has stuff in it
that I am very interested in.”
“I believe you need to do some
thing that is entertaining. People don’t
just come to the theater to think,” he
Part of Grange’s effort to better
entertain involves dancers performing
during set changes.
According to the cast, there are no
blackout moments in the entire perfor
The variety of music from different
time periods coincides with what is
. going on in the one-acts and continues
die theme of “All in the Timing.”
Grange said going away from the
traditional blackout between sets is a
“challenge to the artistry of the the
Also, Grange said he has taken a
hands-off approach to this production
in order to “tap into the energy that stu
dents have.”