Mining laughs from hamelt and trotsky is bumpy road

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Jordan Holguin and Mariah Cooper embrace crowd applause in Mayan Hall theatre after there act "Sure Thing." (photo credit: Sergio Esparza)

Jordan Holguin and Mariah Cooper embrace crowd applause in Mayan Hall theatre after there act “Sure Thing.” (photo credit: Sergio Esparza)

Timing was everything for the series of one-act performances “All in the Timing.”

Some were well-timed, some needed a little more time.

First up was “Sure Thing” and the words “sure thing” were repeated throughout the improvisational theatre exercise. When a bell rang, scenarios changed. Bill (Jordan Holguin) conversed with Betty (Mariah Cooper) while she read in a cafe. Holguin was strong, but Cooper rushed her lines as nervous young actors often do.

“The Universal Language” was the most confusing piece. Dawn (Michelle Kaufman) and Don (Holguin) played an instructor that struggled to teach a new language, but it was extremely difficult to understand what either character was saying. This act was too desperate to be humorous, despite the actors’ best efforts.

“The Philadelphia” was the most entertaining act. Amanda O’Rourke played Allie, a flustered woman having a bad day until her friend Marsha (Cecilia DiMiro) points out that she is simply in a “Philadelphia,” a black hole in the time continuum. Alyssa Castillo ended the scene by taking a seat next to DiMiro and explaining how lucky she was to be in a Philadelphia and not a Cleveland.

“It’s like death without the benefits,” said Castillo with the perfect sprinkle of irony. “Everybody’s got to be somewhere.”

Southwestern College students perform "All in the Timing," in Mayan Hall theatre. (photo credit: Sergio Esparza)

Southwestern College students perform “All in the Timing,” in Mayan Hall theatre. (photo credit: Sergio Esparza)

“A Variation of the Death of Trotsky,” like “Sure Thing,” was a classic theatre exercise. There were some heady jokes for those who caught them, including a skewering of psychologist Sigmund Freud. Daniel Salinas played Ramon, the gardener who clumsily smashed an axe through the buried skull of Trotsky, who was cleverly resurrected by Castillo. Salinas had a brief but humorous appearance, but the highlight was Veronica McFarland’s anachronistic twerking to “Work” by Rihanna.

“Words, Words, Words” was a parody of “Hamlet” and the Infinite Monkey Theorem that insists a chimp could eventually write “Hamlet” randomly if left to pound on the keys long enough.

As the final of the five acts, it should have carried more of a punch. There were some clever jokes making fun of animal testing and reverse classical conditional from a chimpanzee’s point of view. “Hamlet” collides with the principle of the three wise monkeys: see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil. Alas, poor Yorik, a fellow of infinite jest, could not make sense of it.

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