Plays are an interesting sort of literature. Many are acted out from the direction of the playwright's detailed stage directions and carefully spun dialogue; others are left to the inspiration of the director. One of the most famous playwrights is William Shakespeare. Full of long soliloquys and social implications, Shakespeare's plays are long studied and appreciated.
Sure Thing is not like a Shakespearean play. A fairly short, one act play, it has few stage directions other than the continuous use of a bell to symbolize the alternate interactions between the two characters of Bill and Betty. Bill interrupts Betty's reading, which is a dumb move to begin with, and proceeds to try to dredge up a conversation between the two of them. For anyone who knows or is a book lover, you know this is a futile and painful reaction. However, David Ives creates an interesting dialogue that keeps backtracking and changing into something else entirely. At first, the conversation ends as well as one would think with Betty blatantly ignoring Bill until he leaves. After the play backtracks a second, a single difference changes the direction of the outcome from complete and utter failure to Bill and Betty sharing a movie interest together.
Ives experimentation with the possible alternatives of the conversation interested me. Through the constant rewriting of the dialogue, Betty and Bill had a completely different experience than they otherwise would have had, playing with the notion of time and chance. Questions that usually plague people like "I should of said that... could have done that... would have changed that..." all fit well within the brief act. Plus, the characters were as relatable as their situation. I cannot tell you how many times I have been unnecessarily bothered by someone when I was trying to enjoy a good book or two.
I am not one to write plays, but if I were required to write one, I might be inclined to mimic his minimal pattern and play with time.