The Port Arthur News
If you majored in Liberal Arts in college and you didn’t find existentialism funny, you might have been missing the point, according to a new comedy by Lamar State College-Port Arthur.
The LSC-PA straight theater group, “A Class Act,” has produced a collection of contemporary one-act comedies called “All in The Timing,” written by New York playwright David Ives, which for students of philosophy, history and literature, may provide a much needed release.
Like existentialist playwright Jean-Paul Satre’s drama “No Exit,” about three people trapped in an afterlife to endlessly discuss their being, LSC-PA’s “Words, Words, Words,” is about three monkeys trapped in a room and put to the task of typing out “Hamlet” on typewriters.
“That scene to me is like Sartre’s, I mean think about it: Three people trapped into a room with an impossible task,” said Gengo. “That’s existentialism”
However, unlike the Sartre, this one is funny.
For this work the troupe put in a lot of work on timing, as seen in “Philip Glass Buys A Loaf of Bread.” The scene starts simple, a few seconds between two ex-lovers, but it is suspended into a series of repetitious phrases that last a quarter of an hour. The words in the script, according to director and LSC-PA theater instructor Damon Gengo, look like “gobbledy goop.”
Nevertheless, the four actors in the scene have constructed this high tempo, high energy dance-like play of motion and words that crescendo around that same simple dramatic moment, a few second between ex-lovers.
“None of that is really written,” said Gengo. “For them to come up with a cohesive scene with what they are given they had to create these inner lives of their characters.”
Most of that work, it turns out, is in the timing.
“To me the comedy of it is taking the dialogue and have that create music,” said Gengo. “How you communicate it and how you deliver it is all in the timing.”
If “Philip Glass” is music, than “The Universal Language,” performed by veteran LSC-PA actors Dylan Good and Dylan Kilday is a poem — in its own comedic-contemporary way.
The character Don, played by Kilday, teaches Dawn, played by Good, an invented language called “Unamunda,” to scam her out of a few dollars. The actors execute the task of speaking the language fluently, and it is beautiful to hear.
“We tried to learn it like a real language but we soon found out that was impossible,” said Dylan Kilday. “It turned out we had to just do it over and over again to get it right,” said Kilday
All of the plays are full of food for thought and provide light perspectives on heavy ideas.
“All In The Timing,” will be performed as a dinner theater in the Lamar Black Box Theater at Lamar State College-Port Arthur, located at 1500 Procter Street in Port Arthur.
A three show run, Friday and Saturday performances will be dinner at 6:30 p.m. for $20 and Sunday matinee dessert and coffee at 1:30 p.m. for $15 this week only.
For reservation call (409) 984-6111.