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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

“An Evening of Ives,” An Evening of Laughter

<t do Trotsky’s death, monkeys writing Hamlet, first conversations, and mini golf have in common? They’re the premises of the four short David Ives plays that went up in Nourse Little Theater last weekend.

Max Henkel ’14 and Freddy Stein ’14 directed “An Evening of Ives” – ETB’s first production of the term that went up at Nourse Theater 5th weekend.

It’s incredible that the show came together and did as well as it did considering that both directors are acting in “Twelth Night” (Players Production 7th Weekend).  Its success is probably due to the fact that both directors have had previous shows in Nourse.  However, the production was greatly lacking in design, with a bare stage, minimal lighting, and nothing spectacular in costuming, props, nor sound.

This was particularly apparent In “English Made Simple,” in which the directors decided to use a pre-recorded narration.  The recording sounded like it had been compiled hastily, resulting in an unpleasant static-y sound. The performances by Caroline von Klemperer ’16 and Hannah Quinn ’16 saved the scene with their comedic timing and obvious chemistry. The script, full of non-sequiturs and turn on a dime shifts in the lovers’ first conversations made sense with their delivery.  The audience was captivated, watching the many ways a first romantic conversation can go.

David Ives’s hilariously witty lines are perfect for a Carleton audience and easily carry the show. The first scene, “Words, Words, Words,” draws in any Carl’s attention, but especially English majors, with literary references left and right. Ellie Durling ’17, Patton Small ’17 and Sam Vinitsky ’16 play the three monkeys set to the task of writing infinitely until they produce “Hamlet.” Although some lines were garbled and their half-hearted portrayal of monkeys was at times awkward, the audience laughed the entire way through.

The weakest scene in the production was “Variations on the Death of Trotsky.” The funny premise of Trotsky repeatedly dying each time he realizes that there’s an axe in his skull falls flat with Dylan Wells ’16 and Caroline Roberts’s ’16 lack of chemistry. The timing and choices made by the actors and directors didn’t add anything to the scene, and the appearance of the murderer, Trotsky’s gardener, played by Mr. Vinitsky, personally brought me out of the scene with his stereotypical Mexican sombrero and fake mustache.

The production ends on a good note, however, with a funny scene about a man taking three different women on the same date using the same pick-up lines with drastically different results. Small, Vinitsky, and Wells play the same man, with Roberts, Casey Short ‘16, and Charlotte Foran ’15 as their dates. Ms. Roberts excels in her role as the naïve date that falls for every line.  Ms. Short is the perfect foil to her date, using the same lines right back at him. But Ms. Foran stole the scene, as the spunky and skeptical date that calls her date out on his awful lines.

All in all, Stein and Henkel chose a perfect show for their Carleton audience, with the theater almost shaking from so much laughter. Although some scenes fell flat, the simple fact that they produced “An Evening of Ives” in such a short timespan is amazing – who knows what they could do with some more time!

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