Cultural Weekly: It’s Time

Paul Linke’s unassuming show at Pacific Resident Theatre (PRT) has an unassuming title: It’s Time. Time for what? No, not for what. Just… time. It’s about how time is all we really own or have to spend. And then about his time, the kind that got spent in his one-man trajectory from childhood to drifting college student, to the actor on the stage before us who is about to tell us all about himself.

If that sounds egocentric, it is not. Linke is a man who “found” himself as an actor. Oh, I know; you’ve heard this one before. Happens a lot. But acting was something Paul Linke had never contemplated until a Croatian girlfriend during his directionless college years suggested he might like it. He liked it.

Linke has been an actor ever since. He’s not a major “celebrity” except to this family, although he has a list of credits he can be proud of. They’re in his bio. But he turned out to be so much more than a list of career achievements: an honest man, a good father, who, after the death of his first wife which left him widowed young and bereft with three tots in tow, went in search of his lost happiness. In this one-man show at PRT, which had an initial run at the Ruskin Group, he brings us nothing more than the sharing of his entire life experience so far, and more important, nothing less.

Paul Linke (foreground) with his wife Christine Healy in It’s Time at Pacific Resident Theatre.

Luck played a big role, as did good friends on the day he was introduced to Christine Healy, the woman who would become his second wife and who, as Linke puts it, agreed to marry the whole package: him and his three children. Together, he and Healy produced a fourth tot, and you might say all of them lived happily ever after.

But telling you this sweet story is not the only thing Linke attempts to do in It’s Time. He had written an earlier solo play shortly after his first wife’s death called Time Flies While You’re Alive, primarily intended to be cathartic for him. It was, although it also touched many hearts. But It’s Time is a different animal. It is a public manifestation of a deep gratitude shared, this one intended to remind us of the enormous capacity we all hold within to use our allotted time on this planet to find and spread that rare commodity called joy.

With this highly personal monologue in the firm hands of director Edward Edwards, Linke manages to at once narrowly focus on, yet broadly magnify his experience into a funny, self-deprecating commentary on how to blunder your clumsy, sincere, loving way into happiness — and then extrapolate that good fortune into a dissertation about time, an intangible tangible that he aptly calls “the currency of our existence,” in the way it envelops and rules us. This is no lecture or how-to manual. By sharing a personal transcendence, he enlightens us on how, out of a lot of sadness, foolishness, eagerness and commitment in the search of happiness, you sometimes can play a role in finding or creating it.
Paul Linke in It’s Time.

A show like this is the ultimate prescription for what it is to live right, with values that matter. It is uplifting — a balm and a healing in an aching world. When it is this simple, this direct and wise, theatre is capable of being the highest of the arts, shaped by our finest emotions.

Paul Linke (foreground) with, l-r, Gordon Davidson, Linke, Christine Healy, Kate Mulgrew and Robert Egan.

Photos by Ed Krieger.
WHAT: It’s Time
WHERE: Pacific Resident Theatre, 705 ½ Venice Blvd., Venice, CA 90291.
WHEN: Thursday-Saturday, 8pm; Sunday, 3pm. Ends April 30.
HOW: Tickets $25-$30 available at 310.822.8392 or online at www.PacificResidentTheatre.com.