The Ascension of Ivy Buirhewlitz, Equity Library Theatre, at Players Workshop. Bret Cisco’s satirical comedy has all the giddy spontaneity of a postprom party–indeed, the thought crossed my mind during the first act that the author’s name might be a pseudonym and The Ascension of Ivy Buirhewlitz a product of the company. But it’s unlikely that professional actors could have come up with something as weary, facile, and juvenile as this two-and-a-half-hour assemblage of gags so broad and brainless they make Mel Brooks sound like Tom Stoppard.
Constructed around the saga of single-parent Ivy Buirhewlitz and her nerdy, neurotic daughter, Cisco’s scattershot text features gibes at such easy targets as corporate tyranny, dysfunctional families, academia, chirpy talk-show hostesses, psychics, hoggish men, featherbrained women, and several nebulous ethnic stereotypes. The ELT actors and director do what they can to inject some sparkle into this mossy material, but on opening night they all seemed to be dragging their feet–and the playwright seemed to be trying to hide.