Five Part Dissonance

From The Joe Frank Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Five Part Dissonance[1]
Work In Progress
Original Broadcast Date
Eric Sears, Arthur Miller, Avery Hart, Paul Mantell, F. Murray Abraham, Annalee Jefferies, Joe Frank
Improv Actors, Sound Effects, Absurd Monologue, Live, 56 minutes
Preceded by: Words
Followed by: Emerald Isle

Let me begin by asking you a question.

Five Part Dissonance is a program Joe Frank produced as part of the series Work In Progress. It was originally broadcast in 1988.


Joe interviews Eric, the ESPer, and his doctor, Julian Barons. Eric fails Joe's ESP tests. He and Barons make lame excuses.[1]

9: Joe gives a nonsense history of communications, discussing smoke signals, heliographs, semaphore signals, speaking tubes.[1]

15: A guy (Paul Mantell?) talks to a woman (Avery Hart?) about his search for death - at a party? 2 other guys (Arthur Miller and Eric Sears?) enter the discussion. They talk about shaving and what one sees when one looks in the mirror.[1]

17: Drum solo, clapping.[2]

17:40: A guy protests that he can't do it to a woman; he groans.[1]

19:30: Guy talks with other about having trouble falling asleep. They talk about the difficulty of knowing whether you're asleep.[1]

20:20: Guy makes waking-up noises.

21: 3 guys (Arthur Miller, Eric Sears, Paul Mantell?) talk about nothingness; another tells us about being in his grave. [1][3]

22:30: The sounds of someone distressed - in a hospital?

23:20: Joe's in an elevator with a beautiful woman; he fails to work up the nerve to talk to her. 'Hard work' plays in the background. Joe says this happens to him almost daily.[4][5]

27: The sounds of someone distressed - in a hospital?

27:40: 3 guys (Arthur Miller, Eric Sears, Paul Mantell?) in philosophical discussion about what's what, where they are, how they get there.[1]

29:00: Musical interlude[6]

29:40: Joe, in front of a live audience, with a band, tells us about his favorite TV show, a detective show. He meets the actor who plays him at the Hero Lounge. The actor moves in with Joe, tries to arrest him when he finds heroin in Joe's steamer trunk, chases Joe in a manner like the actor's show. Joe fights him off.[7]

41:50: Joe, still live, talks of Dostoyevsky, Camus, philosophy of values, Nietzsche, Freud. Nietzsche was arrested as an accessory to the murder of god. Joe says the future determines the past, not vice-versa.[8]

45:50: Musical interlude[6]

46:20: Guy, walking to delicatessen, is abducted by aliens, taken to another planet, fed opium, sees game of mahjong played on giant board.

49:50: Joe tells of the talking drum of Yoruba, west Africa.

50:20: A guy tells of having to find the Hotel de Paris; it sounds like a dream. Another fellow simultaneously talks about not being able to find his way.[1]

51:30: Musical interlude.

52:10: Distorted voice - an elevator operator? - calls out the floor numbers, but also other destinations, including the Hero Lounge, Einstein, makes small talk.

Legacy Synopsis
  • A panel discussion about esp: learning esp, picking up on thoughts, an esp demonstration, psychodynamic juggling.
  • Communication throughout history, smoke signals, heliography, semaphore, alpine horns, speaking tubes.
  • Traveling in search of death and shaving.
  • Drum solo.
  • Panicked man begs "don't make me do it" accompanied by a bizarre moaning soundtrack.
  • Panel discussion: falling asleep while falling asleep.
  • A man moans and strains while a woman giggles.
  • Being buried alive.
  • A woman moans.
  • Joe talks about seeing a beautiful woman in an elevator.
  • Life as here and there and this and that, trying to get there, freedom and slavery, looking in the mirror and shaving.
  • Joe describes his favorite TV detective program against a live percussive background before an audience: seeing the actor on a talk show, neighbors are baffled by a nice guy who shoots strangers from his window, Joe is a nice guy except when driving, he seeks out the film star in order to attack him, befriends him, and becomes trapped in a television program [9]
  • Nihilism, immortality in the past, discordant stuff.
  • A man's shoelaces are tied together and he's abducted by aliens from a planet that plays mahjong and feed him opium.
  • The talking drum.
  • Looking for a hotel where one had been as a child.
  • Gravely distorted voice of an elevator operator.


  • Unknown chamber music

Shared Material

Additional credits

The original broadcast credits state: "With Eric Sears, Arthur Miller, Avery Hart, Paul Mantell, F. Murray Abraham, Annalee Jefferies, and Joe Frank. The musicians in the live concert segment were Jesse Boggs, Larry Massett, Henry Dennis, and Van Williamson."


I think 'Five part dissonance (remix)' is just another name for this episode. The words are identical; I think the music is, too.Arthur Peabody (talk) 12:35, 13 August 2023 (PDT)


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 originally aired in The Rare Recording
  2. 'Skin deep', Duke Ellington
  3. later used in Great Lives
  4. originally aired in Laughing Back - A Movie For Radio
  5. Joe tells a similar story in Obsessions.
  6. 6.0 6.1 'Ravinia/Vancouver' - Jon Hassell
  7. originally aired in Joe Frank In Concert
  8. originally aired in The Death Of Trotsky
  9. From Joe Frank In Concert