We’re here! Yes, we had to cancel everything. It was awful. The theater’s empty, but waiting for us all. And we’ve been busy! The company’s sheltered in place, but safe and sound. Barry’s writing a book. John Lee’s recording one. Marisa’s singing and wrangling the twins. Harnagel’s recovering from liposuction. Pat’s baking for 2022. Calvert sends pictures from “Japan” but it might just be a sushi joint downtown.
We hope you’re all taking care of yourselves and missing us as much as we miss you. It really drives home the essence of “live theater”, doesn’t it? Actors and audience sharing time and space to enjoy a new story seems so special now.
We’re a theater, and theaters are, unfortunately but understandably, in the last phase of reopening. The last thing anyone wants is to feel awkward about sitting in a room with strangers for an hour. We actors are just as anxious to stay healthy as anyone, and trying to get a laugh out of a nervous audience is the actors’ circle of Dante’s “Hell”. So we’ll wait for the all-clear, and will, hopefully, still be financially able to reopen.
Till then! We keep the mission alive in an ingenious new online format – “The Parson’s Nose Radio Theater of the Air!” Available on our new web page, Spotify. Google, iTunes, wherever you get your podcasts. They do cost money. They’re on a “donation” basis, so we hope you’ll give them a try. And “sponsorships” are certainly available if you’d like a “Brought to you by….!” ad inserted in an episode, just like Old Time Radio.
I’ve been wanting to try this ever since we’ve had so much success with our Art Night “Radio Dramas!” and our “Readers’ Theater!” Series, which are, basically, radio shows. We rehearse by Zoom and record remotely; our professional Sound Designer, Dave Bennett, puts them together.
“WIND IN THE WILLOWS” , adapted by Lance Davis, is Kenneth Grahame’s charmingly funny 1907 tale of the “Riverbankers”, the animals (or are they!) who dwell along the Thames. Culled from bedtime tales he told his blind son, Alistair, Grahame’s stories are full of the universal longing for friendship, home, adventure and courage adults seem to forget about until reminded, and then are so delighted to have found again.
“THE SUMMONING OF EVERYMAN”, adapted by Lance Davis, with a “Machaut inspired” score by PNT’s own Tom Peters, is a wonderful piece I performed at Parson’s Nose several years ago. A simple “morality” play – don’t worry, it’s funny as well – extremely popular in the 15th Century, and still performed throughout Europe. God feels ignored by Man, and sends Death to bring him to account. Of course, it’s the last thing expected, and Everyman searches desperately through his life’s allegorical “friends’ for company. Fellowship? Relatives? Wealth? Bottoming out, he returns to Good Deeds and Confession, eventually reaches Salvation, and joins God in a glorious reunion. The morality plays were like the stained glass windows of the medieval world, teaching spiritual lessons through symbols from which the uneducated, but not unintelligent, “common man” could profit. My version is a 40 minute adaptation of the York Cycle version, which was taken from the Flemish original around 1495.
“NOAH’S ARK” is a little piece of fun I recorded from my “Funny Bible Stories”. It’s about Man trusting God at a time when no one else would, and being rewarded for it. Noah’s faith and optimism allow him to guide his dysfunctional but loving family through a flood of uncertainty. A perfect, classic story for us today.
And what’s next? The mics are ordered and the cast is getting ready for “A Taste of Shakespeare” which shines a light on “What’s the big deal about Shakespeare?” We hope to add it in the next few weeks, and have a whole digital season of radio works and discussions for all ages planned. We hope you enjoy them and can find it in your hearts and pocketbooks to support them in these stressful days. We can do this if we listen to our better angels. – LD