My smart, funny, creative daughter is directing/producing a tribute to David Ives at St. Mary’s College of Maryland this weekend. That got me thinking about the brilliant, strange playwright David Ives.
David Ives was born in Chicago, Illinois, USA on July 11, 1950. He grew up on the south side of Chicago and attended Northwestern University. He worked for a few years as an editor at Foreign Affairs Magazine before entering the Yale School of Drama where he earned his MFA in playwriting. Ives is a Guggenheim Fellow and he currently lives in New York City.
probably best known for his evenings of one-act comedies called All In The Timing and Time Flies. All In The Timing won the Outer Critics Circle Playwriting Award, ran for two years Off-Broadway, and in the 1995-96 season was the most performed play in the country after Shakespeare productions. His full-length plays include Venus In Fur, which recently enjoyed a vast critical and audience success Off-Broadway; New Jerusalem: The Interrogation of Baruch de Spinoza, which won the prestigious Hull-Warriner Award; Is He Dead? (adapted from Mark Twain); Irving Berlin’s White Christmas; Polish Joke; and Ancient History. He has translated Feydeau’s classic farce A Flea In Her Ear as well as Yazmina Reza’s drama A Spanish Play, and his translation/adaptation of Pierre Corneille’s The Liar premieres this spring at Washington’s Shakespeare Theatre Company. He is also the author of three young-adult novels, Monsieur Eek, Scrib, and Voss. [American Theatre Wing.org]
He was nominated for a Tony Award for his play Venus In Fur which he later turned into a film script.
Words, Words, Words features three monkeys in a large cage with typewriters. The monkeys, Kafka, Milton and Swift, are part of a scientific experiment which hopes to prove that given enough time three apes hitting random keys on a typewriter will produce great literature — in this case, Hamlet.
Variations on the Death of Trotsky is (as its title indicates) a series of fictional variations on a very real historic event, the death of Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky. There are eight variations that echo both high and low brow literature.
Words is a long time Ive’s favorite of mine (along with Philadelphia and Philip Glass Buys a Loaf of Bread) But I’ve never seen or read Trotsky so I’m really looking forward to this weekend’s showcase. If you are reading this at SMCM I’ll see you at the White Room (theatre).