David Ives, celebrated author of the one-act comedy compilation All In The Timing, offers a new line-up of six comedies in Mere Mortals And Others, which opened May 6 at his usual home, Primary Stages, Off Broadway.
The compendium, titled Mere Mortals And Others, directed by John Rando, was scheduled to run April 16-May 18 but was extended to June 1. A rave in the New York Times, and sell-out crowds have now led to the show being extended through July 6.
(Originally scheduled to open April 29, the opening night had been pushed forward a week, to May 6, because cast member Danton Stone was in Los Angeles shooting a TV pilot the week of April 21. The production continued with an understudy for that week.)
The six plays comprising the show are: Mere Mortals, Speed The Play, Foreplay, Or, The Art Of The Fugue, Degas, C'Est Moi, the newly written Dr. Fritz and Time Flies. Initially, a play called The Frogs was supposed be part of the evening, but that has apparently changed. (Oddly enough, a frog is the unseen nemesis of Time Flies, which features a pair of mating may-flies who have one night to consummate their relationship before death.)
Foreplay follows simultaneous dates on a golf course; Mortals shows construction workers discussing their previous lives over lunch; Speed The Play sends up four David Mamet plays in seven minutes; Dr. Fritz shows an American tourist visiting a South American faith healer; and Degas offers a contemporary New York man convincing himself that for one day only, he is the painter Degas. Starring in the comedies are Pearl Theatre regular Arnie Burton and All In The Timing veteran Nancy Opel, as well as Jessalyn Gilsig, Anne O'Sullivan, Willis Sparks and Danton Stone. Designers are Russell Mathini (sets), Phil Monat (lighting), Anita Yavich (costumes) and Aural Fixation (sound).
Ives' most recent Off-Broadway work was The Red Address, a quirky but dark drama about a transvestite getting torn apart by the business world. The Second Stage Theatre production starred Kevin Anderson.
For tickets ($45) and information on Mere Mortals And Others, which opened May 6 at Primary Stages on West 45th St., call (212) 333 4052.
-- By David Lefkowitz