PAW’s 4 by Ives

Here’s a tip for fine evening’s entertainment: go see Performing Arts of Woodstock’s production of four short comedies by David Ives. 

The four distinct pieces, each 20-30 minutes long, are quite funny and performed by a cast that is quite adept at making you laugh out loud as you deal with some gently existential questions, like the length of life of an insect, how tall should a tower be, self identity, and just plain sheer nonsense. 

The plays are directed by Lora Lee Ecobelli, who is a fine actor in her own right, so that they seamlessly flow from one to another, as the casts jitterbug through changing the minimal, yet apt to the material, sets

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In Time Flies, Joe Bongiorno and Charlotte Hays portray a pair of mayflies whose attraction to each other is irresistible, even though they find out that their time here on earth is quite limited. Andrew Joffe portrays the disembodied voice of David Attenborough (?). 

Babel’s in Arms features a tour de force duo in Ryan Palmer and David Smilow, who’s job it apparently is to build said tower. Their interaction makes you think of comedic duos of old as they go about their task, prodded by Jessica Loy, whose job it is to see the project through. Charlotte Hays returns as the High Priestess.

Bongiorno is back, along with David Dancyger and Stephen Jones in Mere Mortals as three workers on a construction job musing about their identities. Fine comic timing among the three actors, and physical reactions make this a winner.

And Ryan Palmer again steals the show in a hilarious dual role as Maria and Dr. Fritz in the final piece, aptly named Dr. Fritz, playing off a bewildered Michael Ralff. 

4 by Ives runs for two more weekends at Woodstock’s Mescal Hornbeck Community Center, 56 Rock City Road. Performance dates are: Fridays and Saturdays November 23, 24, 30, and December 1 at 8 p.m.; Sundays November 25, and December 2 at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $23 (Seniors and students are $20.) For reservations and further information (845) 679-7900 or buy your tickets online at performingartsofwoodstock.org.

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