All in the Timing
Students Michael Corcoran (left) and Shannon Cieciuch (right) performing in "Universal Language." (Photo by William Biersack)

by William Biersack

On Feb. 28 and Mar. 1, the Aquinas Stage hosted the most recent theatrical performance to be seen at Mount Saint Mary College. The show, “All in the Timing,” is a collection of separate one-act comedies written by David Ives. Each comedy, while bearing Ives’ personal brand of humor, brought something fresh to the performance.

The performance opened with “Words, Words, Words,” in which students Rebecca Gordils, Stephen Bloshuk, and Robert Petrarca portrayed three cigarette-smoking monkeys attempting to write Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” all while humorously taking on the original play’s well-known themes of revenge, appearance versus reality, and philosophic thinking.

The actors in “All in the Timing” continued the show with fresh comedic feats, such as communicating in tongues, interpretive dance, and variations on the death of Russian Marxist, Leon Trotsky. The show wrapped up with “Sure Thing,” a continuous sequence of comedic do-overs as a man tries to ask a woman out to the movies, respectively played by Joseph Certa and Meghan Hartnett.

The performance was directed by Alexander Florez, a junior honors student. In order to graduate with an honors designation, Florez was required to take a semester to independently conduct academic research. With a background in the theatre arts and not many restrictions on what he could study, Florez collaborated with theatre professor James Phillips to complete his honors research assignment. Following that decision, Florez studied the directing techniques he would need to later make “All in the Timing” possible. This past week, he completed his research project and the fruits of his labor were made available to his peers.

Q&A with the director, Alex Florez

Mount Messenger: What influenced you to use theatre as the basis of your honors research?

Alex Florez: When I got to the Mount, I dipped my toes into the theatre life through Different Stages, thinking that acting could help me become more confident in front of an audience. I fell in love with the stage and slowly found more ways to get involved in theatre on campus. Sophomore year, I started asking around about honors research, and I was not given many guidelines. Essentially, I could do research on anything. Being a math major, I had enough mathematical projects to work on, so I decided to pursue my hobby a little more in depth. That’s when I asked Professor Phillips if he could help me create a project where I would direct a play.

 

MM: What has your experience been like?

AF: My experience in theatre has felt like one long and exhausting rehearsal. Whenever I’m done with one show, another is starting. Whether I’m acting, working backstage, or directing, the work is always worthwhile. As for my directing experience, I started by taking Directing with an honors contract, which entailed directing a ten-minute play and assistant directing a commedia dell’arte, researching a collection of plays over winter break, then finally directing that collection of plays over the span of 6 weeks. I had rehearsal daily, about three or four hours a day, I had to conduct research outside of rehearsal to keep up with the actors’ questions, and I had to find props and set pieces, all while balancing school work and club responsibilities. It was a long, grueling process, but after seeing the performances, I’d do it all again.

 

MM: What has been the biggest challenge you have come across while completing your project?

AF: The biggest challenge with directing was the fact that I was directing my peers. I didn’t have nearly as much authority as I wanted, and I felt as if I had to be more forgiving. After all, this was a school project for me and an extracurricular for them. I had to make sure my social life did not interfere with my school project.

 

MM: Do you have anything you would like to say to our readers?

AF: If you want to feel overwhelmed, take on a directing project. If you want to feel accomplished after months of work, take on a directing project.