The Santa Barbara City College Theatre Group brought David Ives comedies to life with its student showcase of the playwright’s one-act plays. Although the acts had different characters and separate themes, each one made audience members chuckle at the farcical dialogue. Words, Words, Words was told from the perspective of three monkeys, each named after famous playwrights, who have to transcribe Hamlet despite their lack of literacy.
Student actress Paisley Forstersaunders was exceptionally funny in the first short, Universal Language. She played the part of Dawn, a gullible stuttering woman eager to learn the fictional language Unamunda taught by con man Don, played by Blake Benlan. In the skit, Don confesses that his class is a scam to his student even though it fixed her speech impediment. Dawn then turns the tables when she convinces him to teach it to other people, in hopes that it can become a language for everybody.
Fourplay: Or the Art of the Fugue introduced the audience to Chuck, a Don Juan wannabe portrayed by three different actors on three separate first dates. As he tries to seduce each woman with the same tired pick-up lines, his dates give different responses to show that context is important when choosing what to say to somebody.
These satirical one-acts were reminiscent of Monty Python, Abbott and Costello’s Who’s On First comedy routine, and Saturday Night Live. The literary wit, improvisation, and greater social context portrayed in this collection tickled the funny bones of all audience members.