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  •  REVIEW: IN ON IT

      In On It
    Inside job

    "In On It" is a consistently witty exercise in which the rather disjointed drama is constantly interrupted by the actor and playwright wrangling over the script.

    By JOSHUA TANZER
    Offoffoff.com


    "In On It," the title of Daniel MacIvor's latest play, apparently refers to us in the audience — we're "in on" the playwright's agonized thought process, in a sense, as MacIvor himself and fellow actor Darren O'Donnell pause after every scene to second-guess the script.

    IN ON IT
    Written and directed by: Daniel MacIvor.
    Cast: Daniel MacIvor, Darren O'Donnell.
      
    As we enter the theater, a gray suit jacket lies crumpled and almost indiscernible on the gray floor. MacIvor enters, puts on the jacket and starts to speak. Before long, O'Donnell has joined him in a scene involving a doctor and a man who can't sleep because he keeps having nightmares about concrete boats. When the scene ends, the jacket is passed off and O'Donnell registers the first of many complaints about how the play is going. As we continue, the actors trade the jacket back and forth repeatedly, and they swap characters and attitude just as often.

    It's hard to adequately describe the effect of "In On It," because it's a deconstruction of a play. The drama itself, which is about a whole collection of characters and their aloofness from one another, comes off rather bloodless because it's interrupted constantly and picked over by the actors — it seems we're not meant to take the story itself too seriously. But it ends with a deeply touching monologue by MacIvor that's meant to be personal (and was certainly written months ago) but, in the wake of the sudden loss of so many thousands of lives in the World Trade Center attack, seems almost to be speaking about the enormity of our collective loss. When the audience applauded enthusiastically at the end of the show, I think it was more for the impact of this one speech than for everything that came before it.

    And yet, the choppy drama is still quite enjoyable just because of the adroit writing of MacIvor, who's also responsible for the ingenious plays Never Swim Alone and See Bob Run. There are many funny exchanges between the characters, and even more between the playwright and actor as they argue over the script. The play feels like an exercise, but it's not an empty one for the audience. It's full of wit and cleverness from a playwright who's a master of both.

    OCTOBER 21, 2001
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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