Phillip Sokoloff, Joyce Mancini & R.J. Lindsey on the air in NOTE'S 'Shadow'
A successful 1950's radio western is moving to television, but without its lead actor. He doesn't look like his voice. The play recreates the golden age of radio drama...along with a healthy dose of backstage drama. It's inspired by the true story of "Gunsmoke" - how William Conrad lost Marshal Dillon to James Arness. But what if the Marshal fought back?
"a keenly recalled, wonderful replication of the Lone Ranger days of radio...Felde is a natural" - LA Times
ON THE RADIO
Produced by Me/ante MacQueen for the New One-Act Theatre Ensemble, Theatre of NOTE, 301 Boyd St., Los Angeles; 680-9844. Opened Nov. 4; plays Fri.-Sat., 8; through Dec. 10.
The one-act duet currently playing at Theatre of NOTE is about as discordant a pairing as Montovani would be with Spike Jones. Both works have to do with radio and while the frequency comes in loud and clear on the first, the latter is just so much static. Ultimately, the evening serves as an example of how good and how bad one-act plays can be.
On the positive side is Kitty Felde's Man With No Shadow which is complete unto itself, unlike many one-acts that seem to be part of a larger work and appear unfinished. Man With No Shadow takes place at a radio station in the early '50s during the final broadcast of western serial Marshal Hollister which is ending its 11 -year radio run to make the transition to television. Jim, who has been the voice of the lawman all these years (and also does the commercials for the sponsor, Gumbert's Oateo's), learns during the station break that a younger actor will be replacing him on the tube. His revenge won't be exposed here though it's not an original solution. Felde mixes a laidback humor with her intentional spoofing but never overdoes it like a Saturday Night Live skit would so it emerges as much better satire. Credit also goes to the skilled, understanding direction by Lisa Britt and an exemplary cast. R.J. Lindsey as the radio hero and Steve Peterson as his younger TV replacement essay their roles with proper style, nicely assisted by Cathy Cahn, Joyce Mancini and Richard Stretz as other radio voices. Phillip Sokoloff recreates radio sound effects just like they used to be done - a nice touch.
An obvious endeavor has been made by the NOTE staff to improve production values since our last visit. The attempt to create the fascimilie of a radio studio for the first play succeeds while the raised platforms for the latter work would make an interesting setting for a better play. Arthur J. Brandt (lights), Valentine Hooven (sets), Jo Daria Whittle (costumes) and Susan Balles (stage manager) deserve a bow. This young group is now on the right track technically and with more plays like Felde's it might become one of the better houses for new one-acts.