Other Literary Forms

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Some of David Ives’s first attempts at professional writing were for the film world. He lived in Hollywood early in his career, developing scripts for television movies. He also worked as a staff writer for the Fox network television series Urban Anxiety (1990). Later in his career, Ives’s reputation made him a popular choice as a writer of stage banter for performers such as illusionist David Copperfield and shows such as Ira Gershwin at One Hundred: A Celebration at Carnegie Hall (1997). He has written a humorous regular column, “Endpaper,” for New York Times Magazine, short fiction for the Kenyon Review, and nonfiction for The New Yorker. He has also published a children’s story, Monsieur Eek (2001).


(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Though David Ives has yet to have a play produced on Broadway, he has become one of the most oft-produced playwrights in the United States, primarily because of the success of his breakthrough work, All in the Timing (1993). The Off-Off-Broadway performance of this collection of short plays won a Drama Desk Award, a John Gassner Playwriting Award, and a Best Plays citation for 1993. It was also the most frequently produced play in the season of 1995-1996, thanks to its popularity with colleges and smaller theater companies.

Known for his perfection of the short form as a playwriting vehicle, Ives has had works included in the Best Short Plays series in four different years. The playwright’s accessible wit and playful absurdity have made his plays favorites with both actors and theatergoers. Ives has been a major force in turning the ten-minute play into a valid theatrical form.

Though his works since All in the Timing have not received comparable critical acclaim, they have continued to prove Ives’s mastery of the English language and its comic potential. A consummate comic, Ives has managed to use humor to touch existentially on issues of time, inevitability, communication, and human existence. A prolific writer even before his success with All in the Timing, Ives continues to produce a number of new works every year.


(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Grimes, William. “David Ives Quick-Hit Approach to Staging the Human Comedy.” The New York Times, January 4, 1994, p. C15. Grimes offers a comprehensive biography of Ives’s life until 1994, as well as an analysis of All in the Timing and other works. He compares Ives’s work to those of Eugène Ionesco, Samuel Beckett, and Harold Pinter and interviews Ives regarding his success.

Kanfer, Stefan. Review of Mere Mortals, by David Ives. The New Leader 80, no. 15 (September 22, 1997): 22-24. A review of the presentation of this collection of one-act plays at the John Houseman Theater in New York. The reviewer particularly enjoyed Time Flies and Foreplay.

Klein, Alvin. “On the Trail of Coherence and Meaning.” Review of Lives of the Saints by David Ives. The New York Times, August 29, 1999, p. 10. This review examines Lives of the Saints, a group of one-act sketches, performed by Ives Reperatory Company in the Berkshire Theater Festival production.

Zinman, Toby. Review of Lives of the Saints by David Ives. Variety 373, no. 12 (February 8, 1999): 89. A review of the Philadelphia Theater Company presentation of Lives of the Saints. The reviewer finds this collection of one-act plays to be inferior to All in the Timing.