‘Time Flies’ will make you wish Time Stood Still

A drawing on the left of three sitting in a building under construction, doing work on it with the words 'mere mortals' displayed. A middle drawing of a man and woman holding hands and sitting on a lily pad with the wording 'time flies' displayed. A drawing on the right of a man walking down the street. He passes a mirror and the reflection is of a similarly dressed, similar looking man who isn't quite the same. The wording 'degas, c'est moi' is displayed. Above the three drawings, 'Time Flies: An Evening of Ives October 13 - 30 The Bottle Tree Studio Series' is displayed.

Effortlessly effervescent and fantastically funny, Time Flies, an Evening with Ives had me stifling my laughter from beginning to end. In the small—but effective—studio of Bottle Tree Productions, I was so pleased to be in such an intimate setting for this performance and at a run time of only one hour, I was desperate for more. 

The performance consists of three vignettes and two transitional monologues (performed by Kyla Todd). Each vignette and monologue being a stand alone piece with the vignettes also being David Ives’ works (Time Flies, Mere Mortals, and Degas, C’est Moi). Time Flies is about two Mayflies on the verge of a romantic encounter that find out they only live for 24 hours. In Mere Mortals, we’re taken to a construction site for lunch break. In this piece, we learn that the three characters we’ve met might not be who they seem. Finally, Degas, C’est Moi follows an ordinary man as he steps into the shoes of impressionist Degas for a day.

All are expertly accompanied by Steve Spencer’s animations, who undertook the pre-production role of animator, as well as actor in the show. His contributions only added to  the intended “fresh and funky” feeling the show had, as described by producer and stage manager, Anne Marie Mortensen.

In conversation with Todd, Spencer, and their co-star Bryan McDonald (I was unfortunate to miss Helen Bretzke, the fourth performer of the evening), they spoke about the sense of community surrounding the production. The casual interview felt more like a conversation to be held around a campfire, and left me with the sense that this jovial energy is part of what gave the show its charm. The relationships offstage always manage to seep into the performance, and in this case it simply added to the cuttingly comedic script, making the evening fun.

Special mention has to be given to Spencer for all his roles in Time Flies. As I mentioned, he was responsible for the animation, and also other film aspects of the show, but during our interview told me he hadn’t acted in seven years. I told Spencer it doesn’t show. He has the timing, delivery, and the presence of a natural comedian. He fed off of the audience, his co-stars, and the material in equal measure. For those familiar with the work of Ives, you’re in for a treat when you see Spencer bring the script to life.

Director Rachel McDonald leaves no moment onstage untouched; every line, set piece, and transition is embedded with her understanding of and passion for the work. McDonald is a theatre lover’s dream director. She is able not only to bring about her team’s best work, but envelopes the audience with a whimsical and witty atmosphere from the moment they enter the theatre. It showed in the electric and lighthearted energy between the cast during my interview, and it was certainly on stage. 

Don’t miss your chance to see ‘Time Flies, and Evening with Ives’ playing as part of Bottle Tree Productions Studio Series through October 30th. You can purchase tickets here.