Ira and Max: A one act play: Stanley Dyrector
When Oscar Madison and Felix Unger team up they created two opposite ends of a magnetic pole and the friction that took place was electrifying. Each one having their own idiosyncrasies and definite flaws that shined through. So, what could be more fitting than having one neat freak and one slob live together and create an Odd Couple that provided smiles, tears and laughter to audiences for many years? In Max and Ira an original play by screenwriter, author and actor Stanley Dyrector, Max teams up a young upstart, smart mouthed, Ira who is hungry to get into acting. Unemployed Ira decides to venture into Max’s world and what happens is right out of an Odd Couple Episode.
Max is smart, unnerving at times, has no patience for people and even the tiniest thing will set him off on a huge tirade. Enter the world of Max and Ira and decide whether once again opposites can attract, personalities can blend or will there be an explosion worse than any atomic bomb?
When we meet these two they are on the set of a Western trying to create and convey their roles. But what happens is hilarious and when Ira tries to be a cowboy it comes out between geek, nerd, slang. It is funny.
Flash back to when these two meet and enter Max’s domain and watch and hear what happens when Max Lefokowitz and Ira King meet in Max’s Hollywood apartment. Picture an older man seated on a couch surrounded by expensive artwork, sculpture, books and much more with a definite scowl on his face.
With their first words you can tell that these two are going to clash. From the start Max has Ira’s number as he claims in a grumpy tone that he did not properly identify himself and that he’s not clairvoyant or maybe he is!
But, Ira is smart and quite astute and flings back with a sharp retort you might say as he says: You look exactly like a Max and Max comes back with: You didn’t go to Haaarvard! Get it!
The dialogue is sharp, crisp and their personalities and dialect come through as they continue to talk about Ira’s and Max’s brain power, intelligence and finally conclude with after all their bantering that Ira must be an actor. No kidding!
The comedy rising from short quips about Mr. Magoo, Groucho Marx and poor Max hurting his finger and needing Mercurochrome and the evils of Iodine author Stanley Dyrector keeps the banter coming. It is crisp, well thought out and evenly paced as readers will keep laughing and smiling from start to finish. The scene about the finer, eluding to Florence Nightingale, poor Max an old man stating he us vulnerable to the society of today’s slings and arrows making him suspicious of even Ira.
When they finally get down to his job description you are not really sure of what Ira thinks he is getting into because he really has an ulterior motive and hopes that he can kill two jobs with one pitch. But, nothing drives Max as crazy as someone belittling his car: Betsy Ross. What more can I say than he named it after this great lady! Is a car really a car? Not to everyone and when Ira finally gets it and Max explains the importance of having a car in his own special way with his own special shtick: Well you have to read it to appreciate it.
The banter goes on for 30 pages and the dialogue focuses on writing, Actors, Max’s aches and pains and the fact like many people he hates repeating himself. Then the real thrust comes through as Ira refers to Julia who gave him this opportunity and sent him to Max and expounds on his talent and Ira says: I ain’t perfect and the arguments fly and the insults follow and you being to wonder if these two are ever going to work it out!
Max keeps going and rattles off his credits as Ira wants to know more about Newman and Brando and Max comes back with much more. So, what is he supposed to do with Max? Drive him around, take him to appointments and get his groceries.
Each page brings out more about both Max and Ira as Max talks about writing, the fact that he is a God and in the literary sense he just might be!
The final dialogue is a test of who knows more about movies, plays and watching Max trying to put his arm through his sleeve and feeling tortured. But never stopping one beat between them in their banter about acting, playwrights and talking about many great performers and performances. But, something happens that ignites a serious spark and an argument ensues and Ira begins to feel defensive and the ending might surprise you as he hopes to get the job but something he said or did really ticks off Max. What is Ira’s motive for wanting to meet Max? Will they partner up and work together? Adding in shows like What’s My Line, telling him that he has an acerbic tongue and he is seriously incorrigible, just what happens you have to read for yourself to appreciate the talent of this great screenwriter and playwright. Ira and Max: Oil and water, honey and lemons: so what happens at the end? Will they ever agree? Does Max want a yes person or is Ira’s irascible personality just right for him?
Ira and Max: Only Stanley Dyrector can deliver a play filled with so many different dynamics: Comedy, humor, sarcasm and heart and oh yeah: With a guy like Ira who needs: Moishe Pipik!
Fran Lewis: Reviewer