Having a successful career in Hollywood is in large part about timing and being in the right place at the right time. Students at MY Acting Studios are getting a little bit of both at the Zephyr Theatre in a production of All in the Timing: Six One-Act Plays. Patrick Warburton (Seinfeld’s Puddy) executive produced and performs in two of the pieces with his son Talon.
All six short plays were written by David Ives, acclaimed as a master of the one-act. And indeed, Ives’ wordplay and time-shifting gives the young cast lots to work with. Michael Yavnieli, who heads MY Acting Studios, directs.
In the first piece, “Sure Thing,” Betty (Meadow Clare) and Bill (Taylor Behrens) show their agility with difficult material. The two appealing and attractive (assumed) singles meet in a bar and run through multiple iterations of a conversation that may or may not end well. It’s clever and compelling.
Next up is “Mere Mortals,” in which construction workers Joe (Behrens), Frank (Talon Warburton) and Charlie (Patrick Warburton) take a lunch break on the 50th floor of a Manhattan building they’re working on. Charlie, not the brightest but the most entertaining, says he feels sorry for the “more mortals” who have to eat their lunches at street level. The talk spins out of control as Charlie reveals he is, in fact the Lindbergh baby.
“Words, Words, Words” takes literally the infinite monkey theorem that postulates if monkeys type long enough, they could come up with Hamlet. Milton (Melodie Shih), Swift (Clare) and Kafka (Maram Kamal) employ stellar physical comedy in their portrayals of monkeys typing.
Dawn (Tania Gonzalez, wife of Michael Yavnieli) and Don Finninneganegan (Mark Haan) stun in “The Universal Language,” in which they spew lengthy and hilarious word salads. Don claims to be teaching a language called Unamunda and Dawn goes all in.
Talon and Patrick Warburton return in “The Philadelphia,” where it’s opposite day and impossible to get what you want from the waitress (Shih) unless you don’t ask for it. The wordplay is again excellent and the father and son play off each other well.
In “Variations on the Death of Trotsky,” Trotsky (Talon Warburton, gamely wearing a pickaxe in the neck), interacts with Kamal and Haan in multiple scenarios, oddly separated by vintage TV show themes.
All in all, it’s an engaging evening with up-and-comers who give their all.
All in the Timing runs through Nov. 20 at the Zephyr Theatre,7456 Melrose Ave. on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00pm, Sundays at 3:00pm. Tickets are $35 and are available here.
About Laura Foti Cohen
Laura Foti Cohen has lived in the Brookside neighborhood since 1993. She works as a freelance writer, editor and consultant. She's also a playwright affiliated with Neo Ensemble Theatre in Hollywood.
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