Your favorite actors bringing great stories to life.
Guest host Robert Sean Leonard presents stories about transgression, misunderstandings, and betrayal. “Initials Etched on a Dining Room Table Lockeport Nova Scotia” call up a host of memories in this story by Peter Orner, performed by Maulik Pancholy. A chef down on his luck gets a new start in “Ollie’s Back,” by Lynn Sloan, performed by Nate Corddry. And parents disagree about the raising of a lively daughter, in “Light,” by Lesley Nneka Arimah, performed by Crystal Dickinson.
We're back! The bonus Selected Shorts podcast returns with some of our favorite stories we just can't air on the radio. Etgar Keret is the Israeli writer known for his absurdist, playful perspective and dark humor. In addition to having had many of his stories featured on Selected Shorts, he has been published in The New York Times, Le Monde, The New Yorker, The Guardian, The Paris Review and Zoetrope, among others, and over 40 short movies have been based on his stories, one of which won the American MTV Prize. "Jet Lag" is performed by David Cross, the American comedian, actor, director, and writer, known primarily for his stand-up performances, the HBO sketch comedy series Mr. Show, and his role as Tobias Fünke in the sitcom Arrested Development. After the story, host Aparna Nancherla talks to Keret about this story and his work.
"Jet Lag" was recorded at a Too Hot For Radio performance in San Francisco at the SF Sketchfest comedy festival.
Guest host Denis O’Hare presents a program that features great two-hander stories, each performed by a pair of actors that brings out the best in them. In “The Trip,” by Bruce Jay Friedman, a young man is mortified when his over-the-top mom decides to accompany him to his first day at college. Santino Fontana and Julie Halston have fun with this social nightmare. In Lorrie Moore’s “Foes,” a world-weary liberal writer making a reluctant appearance at a charity dinner is seated with a rabid conservative. Kyle MacLachlan and Joan Allen skillfully navigate this delicate minefield.
On Being's Krista Tippett hosts SELECTED SHORTS this week, presenting works that look at issues of art and faith. "The Doctor and The Rabbi" argue about the efficacy of prayer in Aimee Bender's story, read by Ellen Burstyn. Thriller writer Elmore Leonard has some fun with the "hail Mary" football pass in "Spirituality, with or Without a Prayer," read by Julie White. The title says it all in Jenny Hollowell's "The History of Everything Including You," read by Kyra Sedgwick, and Tracy K. Smith reads poems by Carl Dennis and Pablo Neruda.
Guest host Josh Radnor presents two stories that are favorites of novelist and screenwriter Richard Price ("Lush Life," "The Wire") and Colson Whitehead remembers his personal New York. Maggie Gyllenhaal reads Isaac Babel’s tale of local crime and politics, “The King,” and Rita Wolf reads Lucia Berlin’s odd love triangle, “The Love Affair.” Whitehead’s “Lost and Found” is read by Alec Baldwin.
Guest host Maulik Pancholy presents three stories about curious courtships. First, does the perfect date night include zombies? Tony Hale reads “First Person Shooter,” by Charles Yu. A president’s wife is the ideal luggage item, until she develops a mind of her own in a vintage tale by Whitfield Cook. “The Portable Mrs. Tillson,” is performed by Laura Grey and Jordan Klepper. The show concludes with another period gem--“Gertrude the Governess: or, Simple Seventeen,” by Stephen Leacock, performed by Sonia Manzano. This pastiche of Victorian melodrama has everything.
Writer ZZ Packer is best known for her excellent 2003 collection of short stories, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, which saw its stories published in venues including The New Yorker (where she was launched as a debut writer). Packer's stories have appeared in Harper's and Story, and have been published in The Best American Short Stories. "Gideon" is read by the great American actress Danielle Brooks. Brooks is, of course, best known for her performance as Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson on Orange Is the New Black, but she’s also appeared in films and theater including a starring role in the Shakespeare in the Park production of Much Ado About Nothing.
On this SELECTED SHORTS, hosted by Jane Kaczmarek, we explore hidden emotions. In Patrick Dacey’s “Patriots” suburban lawn ornaments threaten a friendship. The reader is Wendie Malick. In Seth Fried’s “Sea Monster,” a wife has a secret that may affect her marriage. The reader is Natasha Rothwell. Host Jane Kaczmarek reads our final story. In “Mistress” by Gina Berriault, a woman meets her former lover’s son.
Guest host Krista Tippett, of On Being, presents short fiction and poems that confront issues of art, faith, and spirituality.
First, a clergyman is tempted in "The Strength of God, Concerning the Reverend Curtis Hartman" by Sherwood Anderson, read by James Naughton. In Elizabeth Crane's "You Must Be This Happy to Enter" a time-travelling artist has a positive attitude. The reader is Claire Danes. A gold digger has second thoughts in Anton Chekhov's "An Enigmatic Nature," read by Fionnula Flanagan. Also featured are poems by Tracy K. Smith and David Whyte.
Guest host Jane Kaczmarek presents two stories about characters who are a little larger than life. First, the story that inspired the Hollywood classic All About Eve, Mary Orr’s “The Wisdom of Eve,” performed by Stana Katic. Next, in Louise Erdrich’s powerful mother-daughter story “The Leap” a former trapeze artist pushes herself to the limit. It’s read by Elizabeth Reaser.