8:09 p.m.: After a few Island City Stage subscriber announcements, the lights go up on their latest production, “The Timekeepers.”
8:10 p.m.: We watch, through strands of barbed wire, Jewish concentration camp prisoner 1793 (Michael McKeever, who is doing a mind-meld with his character) do the meticulous work of fixing wristwatches the Nazis have taken from inmates.
8:12 p.m.: A brutal Capo (Matt Stabile, casually sadistic and believably menacing) brings in prisoner 9355 (Mike Westrich, a nicely-pitched performance), a homosexual who has lied about being a horologist in order to escape the horrors of medical experimentation or certain death working in the concrete factory.
8:14 to 9:45 p.m.: The story unfolds with no intermission and with the carefully calibrated pace from the engrossing, metronomelike direction of Michael Leeds. The two men tentatively reach out to each other; striking bargains, bonding over opera, and sharing the betrayals of anti-Semitism and homophobia that sealed their fates...even as they turn those prejudices on each other in viperous attacks.
9:46 to 9:49 p.m.: The chill from playwright Dan Clancy’s desperation-filled lines that sucker punch us and the warmth from his gallows humor that tickles the tear ducts all begins to fade, leaving us sad and curiously antsy. We know we promised "never again" and we know that it was a lie.
“The Timekeepers” will run through Nov. 24 at Empire Stage, 1140 N. Flagler Drive, in Fort Lauderdale. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, with 5 p.m. matinees Sundays. Tickets cost $30. Call 954-519-2533 or go to IslandCityStage.org.