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Parson's Nose Theater Expands Podcast Series

Co-founders Mary Chalon and Lance Davis lead the way, writing and performing the initial scripts and music.

Parson's Nose Theater Expands Podcast Series

Parson's Nose Theater (PNT) known for introducing fun, condensed, broad-stroke, professional presentations of classic comedies by Shakespeare, Molière, Goldoni, Shaw, Belasco, Grimm, Hans Andersen, Goldsmith, Perrault, Boucicault and others, has expanded its Radio Theater of the Air podcast series.

Although already in the works, the shut-down of theaters around the country due to COVID-19 put the Radio Theater of the Air podcast project into overdrive. The program is PNT returning to its "unplugged" roots as the series is inspired by the company's long standing Readers' Theater and Radio Drama! series.

Co-founders Mary Chalon and Lance Davis lead the way, writing and performing the initial scripts and music along with company core members, Barry Gordon, John Rafter Lee, Jill Rogosheske and Paul Perri. With several more works to record, the rest of the company joining as the program expands.

The first long-form series released was Kenneth Graham's The Wind in the Willows, a classic of English children's literature performed in five episodes. Set along the River Thames in 1907, the tales follow the adventures of animal friends Mr. Mole, Rat, Toad and Badger. A two-episode introduction to Shakespeare and a reading of The Declaration of Independence followed.

Just added is Quality by The Forstyte Saga author John Galsworthy, and the rediscovered anti-Nazi classic Address Unknown by Katherine Kressman Taylor. The New York Times Book Review raved "This modern story is perfection itself. It is the most effective indictment of Nazism to appear in fiction."

The Radio Theater of the Air series is releasing two productions per month including upcoming PNT classics of Moliere, Perrault, Dickens, and Hans Andersen, such as Cinderella/Cendrillon, A Christmas Carol, Rip Van Winkle, Frederick Douglass, as well as entries from The New Play Series and The Women's Project, will follow. Davis says he is also adapting Dickens' timely Hard Times for the series, released in serial chapter form as was the original.

"It's been hysterically funny getting actors with greatly varied technical skills rowing together," said Davis of recording remotely. "Of course we miss live theater. We're stage actors and that's what we do. But it's been great fun and a challenge to take our Radio Theater and Readers' Theater Series on the air. We can even present the pre-show educational chats, which we've gotten great response to. We want to deepen both the educational (not just for kids) and entertainment experience."

The first PNT event to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic was the annual Irish Celebration in March. The popular, sold out afternoon of poems, stories and songs from Ireland is performed in a pub-style, casual setting with audience participation. To adapt, PNT released an at-home, DIY Irish Celebration guide online that included some history, lyrics for singalongs for Molly Malone, McNamara's Band and others, as well as poetry to be read aloud, jokes, and finally, a classic Irish blessing.

PNT has performed for over 75,000 Angelenos in their 19 seasons. While in-theater performances seat 50 patrons at a time, the podcast series allows the company a chance to reach larger audiences. The mission has always been to make the classics more accessible to modern audiences and that has required PNT to harness new technology to stay on mission.

"The classics are stories that have endured because they speak illuminating truths to each generation, containing the richest language, characters and plots in our culture. They are about families," says Davis.

"In the classics, the joys and problems of 17th Century families form a bridge to the 21st. We realize we are, and have always been, part of the same human family. The classics are gold mines of imagery, wit, poetry and characters that can be plundered anew each time we enter. We have tons of material and we're loving the chance to revisit and re-present in the new format. At PNT we're good, we're creative and we're agile."



Address Unknown by Katherine Kressman Taylor

The devastating correspondence in 1933 of two German art dealers, one in San Francisco, one repatriated to their homeland, during the rise of Hitler. Written in 1938 by "the woman who jolted America", Kathrine Kressmann Taylor.
Performed by Paul Perri and Barry Gordon
Two episodes, 37 minutes and 8 minutes

Quality by John Galsworthy

The Nobel Prize winning author of The Forstyte Saga tells the touching story of immigrant bootmakers in Edwardian London and the pitfalls of commercialism.
Adapted by Lance Davis
Performed by John Lee Rafter
One episode, 20 minutes

The Taste of Shakespeare

An Introduction. "What's the big deal about Shakespeare?"
Words and music by Lance Davis
Performed by Mary Chalon, John Rafter Lee, Barry Gordon, Paul Perri, Aleta Soron, Trevor Teichmann and Lance Davis
Two episodes, 30 minutes each

Mark Twain's Advice to Young Ladies

A satirical short-form piece offering counsel to the young ladies of 1865
Adapted by Lance Davis
Performed by Lance Davis
One episode, 4 minutes

A Timeline and Reading of The Declaration of Independence

Our response to oppression. The match that touched the fuse that ignited the world. A brief timeline and then a reading of this amazing document.
Performed by Lance Davis
One episode, 22 minutes

Kenneth Graham's The Wind in the Willows

Set along the River Thames in 1907, the story of Mr. Mole, who pops above ground one spring day for "an adventure", and finds a new pal, Ratty, who is more than happy to introduce him to his riverbank friends.
Adapted by Lance Davis
Performed by Mary Chalon and Lance Davis
Introduction and Five episodes, various lengths

The Summoning of Everyman

In the Middle Ages, life for many was spare and fleeting. Cautionary Christian lessons of salvation and stories of the glories of eternal life were taught to the illiterate - but not unintelligent - populace not only in sermons, but also in the comforting symbolism of ritual, stained glass, and Morality and Mystery plays. A joyous and mysterious play, originally Flemish, adapted from the York Cycle.
Adapted by Lance Davis
Performed by Lance Davis
One episode, 40 minutes

The Tale of Noah's Ark

The inspiring tale of the beleaguered servant, ridiculed for his faithfulness to God, but rewarded for his belief. A comic radio telling by Lance Davis
One episode, 20 minutes (ages 6+)

All episodes are available from Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Anchor, Breaker, Spotify, and Radio Public and are free to listen.

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