April 14, 1865. Lee had surrendered just two days before. Washington was one big party, with dancing in the streets. The President felt he could finally take an evening to see this wonderful British comedy, on tour with Laura Keene’s New York company, playing at Ford’s Theater.
The events surrounding that night are tragic, but Tom Taylor’s play is what we’re honoring at Parson’s Nose. It’s a comedy, but shares many of the melodramatic elements that have become a staple in today’s entertainment, from soap opera to “Downton Abbey” – mysterious letters, a foreign intruder, rightful heirs and proper marriage mates, true love and skullduggery. Audiences rejoiced in the relative clarity of heroes and villains. The added bonus of live theater allowed them to release their emotions in active cheering and booing to which the actors could respond. Improvisation at its best!
Kids get it immediately and dive right in. Adults take a bit of education, but that’s what we’re about at PNT. Once committed to “Boo! Hiss!” and “Yay!” (no longer, alas, “Bravo!”) their realization that this is a live performance they are a part of takes hold and the fun begins.
We only have five performances left, and then the rare opportunity to enjoy this historical, hysterical comedy comes to a close. Friday and Saturdays at 8, Sundays at 3. A glass of wine or cider and Pat Bell’s cookies. 90 minutes. “Best Live Theater Venue 2019 Reader Recommended!” Go to www.parsonsnose.tix.com or call 626-403-7667 – LD