Including Lines, the monologue that precedes Everything in Its Right Place, an evening with Mister Mayhem Productions clocks in at only about an hour. Even so, Lines is worth a miss, as writer-director Joe Killiany gripes tediously about members of the “fucking postmodernist” generation, with their piercings and their Walkmen, and reveals his superior wisdom as a 10-year employee of Mickey D’s. I guess the joke is that this makes him, what, 26? If you’re old enough to pay full price for this entertainment (students get a discount), you’ll feel comfortably smug and/or uncomfortably old listening to the rant. Fortunately, Lines is soon forgotten in the wake of the evening’s main attraction. Everything in Its Right Place offers few twists on those dorm-room colloquies that arise two-thirds of the way through a midterm all-nighter: “What if we’re all just characters in a play—and the playwright has left?” When Killiany’s script places his five office-worker characters in this sort of literary limbo, they react in various ways: Two of them go in search of self-created selves, while two hunker down to wait for his return and the fifth, who was clearly written without a spine, does whatever seems right at the moment. Then—well, a bunch of other stuff happens. This neat, if unrevelatory, bit of absurdism is well worth 14 bucks and 60 minutes for the energy of its young company: Killiany (who gleefully indulges his writer’s ego by referencing himself in the script) and five dynamite actors, particularly Kimberly Klinger as the sharp-as-a-Pilot Extra Fine Character 4 and Matthew Grant as Man (who, when the playwright abdicates, is quick to declare that he’s the strongest being among them because he has a gender and “gender means conflict”). Everything is a tight little production, precisely lit and inventively blocked for a small, bare venue: Neither props nor space nor time—the company’s or the audience’s—is wasted. Although the only shocking moments come when the acoustics of the DCAC meet the occasional overemoting of the cast—lower decibels, Character 3!—Everything provokes smart laughs. Killiany can even be forgiven for resorting to a deus ex machina to return things to normal—particularly because he resists the temptation to walk in on the last scene himself, which would be just too fucking postmodernist. —Pamela Murray Winters