Saturday, April 17, 2010

Parsing the Parson's Nose Productions

Tonight was yet another winsome evening of readers' theater sponsored by the Parson's Nose Productions. This is a South Pasadena-based troupe whose motto is "introducing classic theater to contemporary audiences." Husband and wife duo Lance Davis and Mary Chalon are the mad creative geniuses who direct and devise all things Parson. They would also like a bit of our help.

Parson's Nose is peripatetic, which sounds a lot classier than itinerant or heaven forbid, homeless. There is a mailing address, a phone number, a website; but at present there is no theatrical home. Gamely, Davis and Chalon have mounted a fine series of reading performances in Pasadena's Jameson Brown Coffee Roasters (260 N. Allen Avenue). Also, in January 2010 the company staged a successful run of the full-on production, THE IMAGINARY INVALID. This show inhabited the Pacific Asia Museum upstairs for its performance space. Certainly, the locations bloom merrily where the players perform each rendition. But it's not quite the same feel as having a room of one's own. Parson's Nose is searching for its own dedicated spot. Pasadena tops the wish list, in case anyone knows of a space available for regular rehearsals and productions.

"The Pied Piper of Hamelin" was tonight's hourlong adaptation written by Lance Davis. The coffee shop kind enough to host such a reading closes at 6 in order to be ready for this 7 pm performance. Entering a closed business with others in-the-know feels like we're melting into something exclusive like the Mattachine Society. I kidded with the reservations volunteer when she asked, what's the password? "Nonprofit organization?" I ventured. Now the super part about these readings is that they are FREE, though donations are enthusiastically recommended and received. Tonight I also noticed a ramped-up conviviality among the patrons in the full house. In fact, Davis and Chalon had to play school principals to coax the irrepressible audience back into their seats after intermission. My read on this level of interest is that Parson's Nose is starting to root in our town. And for an organization to succeed, there has to be an emotionally attached following. Davis tapped into that sensibility at the end of the reading when he spoke to us. He said that actors love their work, just as other professionals do. And actors wish to pay mortgages, bills, tuitions, and they deserve salaries steadier than what donations generate. Davis said that he wants to pay his players fair wages and that they are seeking a space in town where the classics will have a home. Brainstorms are welcome. The last readings of this season are scheduled for May 15 (UBU ROI) and June 19 (KING CYMBELINE).

Parson's Nose Productions
1325 Monterey Rd.
South Pasadena, CA 91030