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Time Flies and Other Short Plays Paperback – March 30, 2001
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With "Time Flies," Ives is on familiar, solid ground, doing exactly what he does best. The title story is excellent, and I love "Degas, C'est Moi." "The Mystery at Twicknam Vicarage" is a great spoof of PBS drama and British theatre.
But my faves are "Babel's in Arms," about the plight facing two ancient Babylonian workers called upon to build a tower reaching God, and "Soap Opera," about a man in love with his washing machine.
If you'll pardon the pun, the plays in "Time Flies" show Ives is having fun.
Lesser pieces include “Lives of the Saints” is about two accented European women preparing food for a funeral gathering where the gimmick is the actors mime their actions and the sound effects technicians are visible to the audience – the story is not that interesting and technically it's not much of a stretch as sound has to do the same work anyway. “The Green Hill” is a tale about a man's quest to experience the locale of a particular photograph, and though the character travels the world it doesn't really go anywhere. “Captive Audience” puts Rob and Laura Petrie through the Twilolight Zone, but unless you recall the The Dick Van Dyke Show the idea flops. Similarly "Bolero" is about a couple in bed who possibly overhear a struggle in the apartment next door but are reluctant to act. On the page it's a truncated morality play, on stage – it's not Rear Window but it might be OK though I found the male lead unnecessarily creepy, which was probably Ives' intent.
Better was “Soap Opera”, an amusing love triangle about a Maytag repair man in love with his dominant washing machine. “Arabian Nights” has a nice “lost in translation” setup of an American wandering into a middle eastern shop with his Interpreter and having a conversation with the young proprietress. Both of the main characters speak perfect English, but the Interpreter translates anyway - with good timing and delivery this could be quite good. I was less enamoured with the two hander “Dr Fritz or the Forces of Light” - it was a bit frenetic and the situation where Tom might be dying and his only recourse is a Spanish peasant girl who channels the spirit of a stereotypical German Mad Doctor. Finally “Degas, C'est Moi” is a charming conceit of what it might be like to spend one's day pretending to be the famous artist.
Not quite as good as his All in the Timing, but enjoyable nonetheless.