Solo Arts Heal – Lester Thomas Shane – Mortal Coil

Solo Arts Heal
Hosted by Gail Schickele

Excerpts, talkbacks and Q&A with special guests
providing health and healing education and advocacy.

Wednesday, August 26 | 7:30 PDT

Lester Thomas Shane
Mortal Coil
Voices from the Hospice

Watch The Episode by Clicking Below

 In a compelling series of monologues, this one-man show presents a single night on a hospice unit.  Writer/actor Lester Thomas Shane portrays thirteen characters: patients, care-givers and staff who face death and embrace life with unique insight, deep compassion, and gentle humor.

Mortal Coil has played across the country and the video is used by many hospices as part of their training. A Norwegian translation entitled Livets Lenker toured Norway under Lester’s direction. 

“I have to be in a place where dust dances in the light.”

How often is it that we get to witness an actor truly practice his craft?…Lester Thomas Shane does just that in Shane’s Mortal Coil. Shane acts with abandon, smoothly making the transition from one character to the next…In his series of compelling monologues, Shane portrays patients, caregivers and staff during this single evening in a hospice unit 
Doreen Cudnick Gay People’s Chronicle 

For one hour, Shane steps into the hearts, minds and feelings of these characters…At once moving, tearful and funny, Shane gives us window not only into the world of hospice, but what it means to be mortally human.” 
– Fran Heller Cleveland Jewish News 

About The Artist

Lester Thomas Shane’s work as an actor, director and writer has been seen on television, film, the New York stage and in regional theatre.  His award-winning one-man show, Mortal Coil, premiered at the International New York Fringe Festival and has since played across the country. As an actor at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, he played leading roles like Mercutio, Tartuffe and Puck, while also serving as company Voice and Movement Master. He was featured in the film, Green Shoes which won  several film festivals. Other acting credits include Ariel in The Tempest (People’s Light & Theatre Co.), He in Edward Albee’s Counting the Ways, and a tour of All Compact. He will appear in the German indie, New Blah-Blah York, to be released later this year. His directing credits range from the classics to premiere productions including Head First and (Mary)Todd for which he won Outstanding  Director of the 2014 and 2019  Fresh Fruit Festivals..  The Crucible; As You Like It (Mary MacArthur Theatre); Romeo and Juliet (Lester Martin Theatre);The Winter’s Tale (The Schimmel Center); Macbeth, Twelfth Night, Hamlet, The Tempest (Artistic Director, Shakespeare at the Met, Jacksonville, FL); Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Bright Room Called Day, Science Gets Serious, Sweet Phoebe(Cleveland Public Theatre); Awake and Sing; (Halle Theatre); Shatter The Vessel (Charlottesville New Play Festival); Loot, Last Chance for Happiness (T.Schreiber Studio); Summer and Smoke, Hedda Gabler (Manhattan Theatre Club)); The White Whore and the Bit Player (The Production Company); Pretty Witty Nell, Grit in a Sensitive Instrument (Vineyard); Disconections (45th St Theatre), Asylum (TRT).  As Director in Residence at The Basic Theatre, he directed the New York premieres of Shaviana, Bertolt Brecht: In Dark Times, Santa Monica Threeway, revivals of Sure Thing, Let us Go Into The Starry Night and Titus Andronicus.  

Lester also has worked extensively as a speech and dialects coach.  His credits include The American Guest (HBO) The Blacklist (NBC TV), Secret Garden (Lincoln Center) Merchant of Venice with Morris Carnovsky, Escape From Happiness, Orpheus Descending (T. Schreiber Studio) and New Music (The Mint Theatre).

He is the co-author of several screenplays including Pajama Party Horror, Nothing To Lose, and Portrait of the Artist As A Dead Man.  A series of his plays for children was published by Sundance.  He co-developed the program, P.O.V. Max for Children’s Television Workshop.  Lester was a contributing writer for A&E Monthly Magazine and Facilities.  For A&E Network Television’s popular Biography series, he wrote James Brown: Godfather of Soul, Tyrone Power: The Last Idol, and Carmen Miranda: The South American Way.  For AMC he wrote the history, 20th Century Fox: The First Fifty Years; and for the Discovery Network, Nazis: The Occult Conspiracy. Seven Keys to Success Without Struggle, which he wrote with Penelope Brackett, was cited in The Sunday New York Times and is now in its second edition.  He also wrote Rupert: Just Being Me, the memoir of Rupert Boneham as told to Lester Thomas Shane.

Lester is on the faculty of Pace University, American Academy of Dramatic Art, and The New York Film Academy,.  He was invited to give the keynote address at the 2001 National Teaching Training Institute sponsored by PBS.



Natasha Curry is a board-certified palliative care nurse practitioner, with 10+ years of experience in hospitals across the Bay Area now working at San Francisco General Hospital. She sees patients in the hospital as well as in her clinic. Natasha was an early nurse manager of the Zen Guest House and has worked for Doctors Without Borders in Amman, Jordan. Prior to working in palliative medicine, Natasha was a therapist, editor of London’s premier theater magazine Plays and Players, and a journalist in the Middle East. 


Solo performers present real-life, empowering stories. Transformative experiences for audiences. A theater of resilience that celebrates overcoming mental and physical life challenges and offers hope and inspiration. SOLO ARTS HEAL includes excerpts, talkbacks, and Q&A that provide education and advocacy. Readings or clips of performances will be shared by artists in conversation with Gail Schickele, whose work as a manager and producer of solo artists inspired collaboration of performing arts presenters with artists on a medical track based on their personal experience. The collective creative vision? To help communities through educational outreach and the healing power of the Arts. 

Gail Schickele (Host) champions arts & sciences taking her left and right brain wherever she travels. As an arts manager, consultant, and producer dba SAGE Artists, she convened an ‘Arts Heals’ group of solo artists at APAP 2020 whose unique stories of physical and mental challenges evince the healing power of The Arts.  The COVID lockdown inspired Stephanie Weisman to create SOLO ARTS HEAL to share these outstanding stories of resilience, dramatic and comedic, for the entertainment and benefit of communities everywhere. Gail’s expertise in marketing, management, booking and production has served various theaters, festivals and events nationwide. Trained as a journalist in New York and Colorado, Gail has covered Colorado state politics and the environmental landscape of the Rockies. Environmental science inspires her educational and advocacy work in California with Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, and for the League of Women Voters for which she’s worked as an administrator and reporter on environmental issues Including legislation, climate science outreach, and co-chair of an environmental speakers series. Gail is honored to host SOLO ARTS HEAL where artists powerful stories offer audiences great performance and ‘informance’ on issues related to health and the environment, inexorably linked.

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September 2 – Adam Strauss

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