Monodrama Theater

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Monodrama Theater
Created by Lawrence Menkin
Written by Jay Bennett
Henrik Ibsen
Charles Dickens
William Shakespeare
Directed by Lawrence Menkin
Starring Carroll Baker
Jack Manning
Jan Sherwood
Anne Thomas
Stephen Elliott
Owen Jordan
Country of origin United States
Production
Running time 15 min./30 mins.
Broadcast
Original channel DuMont
Picture format Black-and-white
Audio format Monaural
Original run May 1952 – December 7, 1953

Monodrama Theater, also known as Mono-Drama Theatre, was a late night television series which aired on the DuMont Television Network weekdays at 11pm ET from May 1952 to December 1953.

Production background[edit]

The series consisted of a single actor or actress performing in front of a black curtain, or bare stage, with recorded music cues, in an example of monodrama. Some sources suggest this series, produced by Lawrence Menkin (1911-2000), also aired episodes of One Man's Experience and One Woman's Experience, both also produced by Menkin. Filming took place at a tiny studio at 515 Madison Avenue.[1]

In 1953, in a series of episodes of Monodrama Theater, actor Jack Manning performed a one-man show of Hamlet. His performance took place over the course of two weeks in 15-minute long segments. Jack Gould, a television critic for the New York Times, praised Manning's performance as Hamlet, calling him "inventive, versatile and, above all, natural." Gould also noted of Manning at the time that, "He knows his Shakespeare and truly catches the meaning of the lines."[2]

In April 1954, DuMont filled the 11pm ET time slot with The Ernie Kovacs Show, which ran until April 7, 1955.

Preservation status[edit]

As with most DuMont series, no episodes are known to exist.

Episode list[edit]

A list of 28 titles from 1953 are given on the Internet Movie Database entry. The list begins with the April 6, 1953 episode, and ends with the final episode of December 7, 1953. Episodes include Hedda Gabler, A Doll's House, Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, and Jane Eyre.[3]

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