Department of Theatre presents 'Take Five' by David Ives
Take Five is not just an iconic jazz composition, it’s also a collection of five short comedies by David Ives, each with different characters, stories and focuses, ranging from existential crisis to romantic comedy. Because of this, the cast for each story has been split into five “sub-casts” that take on the challenge of each story separately.
Phoebe Martin ‘24 explained that none of the actors interact with actors that aren’t in their “sub-cast.” Martin plays May in Time Flies. Alongside her are Ben Frey, ‘23, a recent transfer student who is also acting in English Made Simple, and William Main, ‘23, a returning actor who is joining via video while he is taking a semester abroad in Sweden.
“It’s quite different in that I don’t see any of the other actors, except the other actor in my piece,” Martin said. “It’s honestly quite a bit easier because we’re not required to be at rehearsals nearly as often as we would be if we were all doing a full piece together.”
Although this semester has still been affected by COVID-19, performances from the Eisner Center have adapted to accommodate the loosened restrictions. Actors are now able to meet and rehearse without much worry for social distancing, though they do continue to wear masks. The ability to perform in a theatre with a live audience has also returned, as Take Five by David Ives will allow a fully vaccinated audience into the theatre.
“Last year, we performed without an audience and streamed the production. It was convenient for audiences, but not very rewarding for the actors,” says Dr. Cheryl McFarren, the director.
Martin, who was also present last year in the production of The Revolutionists states, “It’s definitely more “normal” this year compared to last year.”
Illustrating the ease of cast interactions, Martin described a moment during production: when meeting with the costume designer, Dr. Rebecca Turk, through Zoom, the students crowded around the laptop in order to see her.
“Before she logged on, we were all cracking jokes about how it looked like we were taking a family picture or getting ready to have an intervention,” Martin says. “It was nice to joke around with everyone together.”
The collection of five short comedies in Take Five by David Ives includes Words, Words, Words, where Milton, Swift, and Kafka participate in their captor’s experiment; but will the three chimps produce art? “English Made Simple” plays with, and contests, meaning. In “The Universal Language,” Dawn risks everything to try a compelling vernacular that isn’t Esperanto. “Time Flies” awakens two Mayflies on a date to their existential imperatives. Finally, Ed decides to imagine la vie en rose by pretending he’s a French impressionist in “Degas, C’est Moi.” In calling the 75-minute evening “Take Five by David Ives,” McFarren alludes to the iconic jazz standard by Dave Brubeck.
“The plays were written before most of today’s student body was born,” shares McFarren.“The jokes and cultural references will have great resonance for folks of my generation, and I’m eager to see how they play to our very bright students at Denison.” Covers of Brubeck’s standard will add to the fun.
Take Five by David Ives will be performed in the Hylbert Family Studio on Nov. 11, 12, and 13 at 8 pm, Nov. 14 at 2 pm, and Nov. 16, 17, and 18 at 8 pm.
This event is free but advanced tickets are required. In addition to the Denison community, we are currently able to welcome vaccinated family members of Denison students, faculty, and staff and a limited number of vaccinated community members. You will be required to submit either your Denison D# or share your proof of vaccination when ordering your ticket. Masks are required.