A really fun event at Town Hall this Sunday afternoon had me thinking of you and wanting to write to you and let you all know of this great little $15 dollar ticket to a no fuss no muss afternoon of enlightenment and entertainment. Thanks to my friend Marianne who braved the downpour and drove…we were so happy we went!
It is curated by the wonderfully professorial Kurt Beattie, the Act Theater Artistic Director Emeritus. He sadly steps aside after the two next shows…so all the more reason to get tickets and catch the next two before he departs.
The program is simple: short stories of note read aloud by local actors…linked by a theme or idea and explained by Beattie in an enthusiastic, academic (history included) conversational manner. This series it is short fiction written for magazines. Simply lovely to listen to and the simple presentation equals a sit back, relax and enjoy it couple of hours.
This Sunday it was pieces from The Saturday Evening Post. Described as a “mid-brow” magazine by Beattie – the readers most likely living under the influence of a type of Americana dream that the famous Norman Rockwell art covers wrapped around the writing of this magazine for so many years! PG Woodhouse‘s PSmith series was the subject of two of the readings done wonderfully well in an assortment of English accents of classically drawn English characters by wonder and local actor David Pichette.
Beattie read a Robert Heinlein piece – science fiction, in the day, now speculative fiction – that reminds us of how far we have come in that genre and yet reminded us of the basics of what makes that genre work and of other writers of the genre like him: Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and Ursala Le Guin.
Marianne Owen read the last known written story of Shirley Jackson‘s (yep, the writer of The Lottery – every boomer’s been assigned to read it in seventh grade and ever since seventh grade unable to get it out of their mind – precursor to The Hunger Games!). The Possibility of Evil is another twisted tale you want to run from but can’t move away from for the unwanted wanting to watch (listen) in disbelief.
There are 2 more Sunday afternoon shows February 12th at 2pm, and March 12th at 2pm…the second program tackles lesser known author’s short fiction who appeared in The New Yorker. I can’t wait to hear Beattie’s background rationale as he weaves these selections together with a clever logic and interesting explanations. Tickets. In March, it is McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern. Parking is free on the street if you can get it or there is a lot right next to Town Hall. I’ll be there for sure, join me!
Town Hall prides itself on providing interesting and varied programs for a reasonable price. And, I am wondering if membership might be a way to go. You can subscribe to get updates on what is coming up. Town Hall is scheduled for a re-do and you can take a free tour and learn more about its past and future with founder David Brewster and Historic Seattle’s Larry Kreisman, and architect of the project Matt Aalfs, Sunday February 26th.
The 4th in the series of Short Stories Live comes from educator/dramatist/director Jean Sherrard at the holidays with season appropriate pieces selected and read. Look for it in December.
Just to let you know: I am still busy writing two short stays – the much promised Harlem few days away and our very recent and soooo wonder-full New Year’s trip to Campbell River, BC. Just let me say…ya gotta do it! It was a busy traveling season! I will try to slow down some and catch you up…soon. Where did travels and short forays take you this season…let me know in the comment section!