‘Purely comedy’

MARSHALL – An awkward blind date, chimps writing one of Shakespeare’s famous plays and a Russian Marxist revolutionary dying over and over again will come to life onstage for the last SMSU Black Box Theatre production of the season.

The Southwest Minnesota State University Drama Club is presenting “All in the Timing” at 7:30 p.m. April 24-26 and 2 p.m. April 27, in the SMSU Black Box Theatre. The show is being directed by theater arts student Jessa Roberts.

Roberts said she was already familiar with the show.

“I’ve done a few of these scenes (from the show) for my acting classes, and I absolutely love the show,” Roberts said.

“All in the Timing” is a collection of one-act plays.

“We’ve taken things to relate to each other,” Roberts said. She said the actors in the show are portraying multiple characters. “We’ve been using subtle things to tie their characters together.”

In one of the one-acts, which is titled “Sure Thing” in the script, has Betty and Bill meeting for the first time at a cafe.

“Things aren’t going exactly right,” Roberts said. Roberts said they use the analogy of magnets, if they go the right way and mesh together or if they’re bouncing off of each other.

Andrew Schulz and Shannon Coyle play Bill and Betty.

“It’s back and forth a lot,” Coyle said.

Schulz said there’s an improv game called New Choice that is kind of like how the one-act “Sure Thing” goes.

“If you say something you don’t like, they say ‘make a new choice,'” Coyle said. In “Sure Thing,” Betty and Bill “reset” each time they say the wrong thing.

Learning the lines for the play was different than any other show he’s done, Schulz said.

“There’s a lot of repetition, it’s the same line, you get lost easily,” Coyle said.

Once you break away from it, it’s hard to know when you say a repeated line not to go back to it, Schulz said.

Coyle said that in learning scripts, she has a semi-photographic memory, which helps her out.

“I can remember when the line is,” she said.

Schulz had a friend help him run lines for “Sure Thing.” He said even he and the friend got confused as they were trying to remember which line went where.

Jesse Lee is one of the actors in “Words, Words, Words,” where chimpanzees are expected to write a Shakespeare play.

“I find it fascinating because every scene has some sort of crazy time element to it,” Lee said. For example, Lee said, with enough time, chimps will write “Hamlet.” “Whether or not it’s possible, it’s all in the timing..the timing of conversation, the timing of the responses to your circumstances.”

Coyle said “All in the Timing” is a big contrast from the rest of the shows on the SMSU Mainstage this past season, which were dark and dramatic.

“This is purely comedy,” Coyle said.