An Evening of Short Stories by Alethea Black
Directed by Elliott Forrest
With Broadway, film, and television stars:
SATURDAY, APRIL 18th at 8:30 p.m.
Dennis Boutsikaris John Shea
With a Musical Interlude with Jazz Singer Jody Sandhaus,
accompanied by Steinway Artist Pete Malinverni
Jody Sandhaus & Pete Malinverni
The short stories to be read are: The Thing Itself (2008 Arts & Letters Prize winner) to be read by award-winning actor Dennis Boutsikaris, and That Of Which We Cannot Speak (Honorable Mention as one of the 100 Finalists for The 2008 Best American Short Stories collection, edited by Salman Rushdie) to be read by John Shea. The readings will be followed by a discussion and reception with the writer, director, and actors about the process of writing, directing, and performing the works.
The two stories are tied together by the theme of marriage – one from the point of view of a married man facing the disappointment of a childless marriage and an unfulfilling career, and the other a regretfully divorced man. Both stories are emotionally incisive, as well as charmingly humorous. As the title, Marriage & Other Odd Occurrences, might suggest, each story contains the presence of unexplainable events and impulses, some of which are life-changing.
Excerpt from That Of Which We Cannot Speak:
Earlier that evening, under the pale light of streetlamps, Bradley had sat on a park bench and watched a small row of trees carefully gathering snow. It was as if they were beckoning it, as though the snow were something they’d been wanting to say.
Now, speeding down Fifth Avenue in a cab whose driver had no apparent awareness of his own mortality, Bradley wished he were back on that park bench. Or in the diner they just passed. Or that police station. Anywhere but on his way to a party where strangers with cardboard hats and noisemakers always made him feel like he was on the wrong planet.
It was 10:15 New York time, which meant it would already be 3:15 a.m. in Islington. Probably too late to call your ex-wife, even if it was New Year’s Eve. Even if she were most likely still out somewhere, sequined, laughing, ice making music in her glass. Besides, what would he say? “I’m sorry” was so easy and generic. Gail hated lack of specificity; in fact, this was one of the charms that had drawn him to her in the first place. Whenever he used to overhear her on the phone with one of her sisters—the pair had met while fundraising for a nature conservancy—she was always begging for details. “What were you wearing? What did he order? Did he leave a nice tip?”
Unfortunately, this charm had later been used as a weapon. Toward the end, a counselor had pressed him to try to describe what was missing in their marriage. He couldn’t. “It’s ineffable,” he said, at which point Gail stood up and shouted, “Well why don’t you try eff-ing it!” ...
ALETHEA BLACK was born in Boston and graduated from Harvard College in 1991. Her father was a mathematician, and for a long time she believed her name, the Greek word for truth, was his way of tipping his cap to the idea of absolutes. Then one day her mother overheard her and said, “No, we got your name from a TV show.” (Judd, for the Defense.) Her first published story was chosen by Joan Silber to win the Grand Prize in Inkwell's 2007 Fiction Competition. Her work has also appeared in the Antioch Review, The Chattahoochee Review, the North American Review, and The Saint Ann's Review, and the American Literary Review. She recently won the 2008 Arts & Letters Prize, and was listed as a distinguished story in Best American Short Stories 2008, edited by Salman Rushdie. She lives in Pawling, NY, where she is working on a novel.
DENNIS BOUTSIKARIS' Broadway credits include AMADEUS (Mozart), FILUMENA (directed by Sir Laurence Olivier) and BENT. Off-Broadway, he received an OBIE and a Drama Desk Nomination for SIGHT UNSEEN at The Manhattan Theatre Club. Other Off-Broadway credits include NEST OF THE WOODGROUSE (OBIE for Outstanding Performance) at the New York Public Theatre, THE BOYS NEXT DOOR, A PICASSO (as Picasso), THAT CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON at Second Stage, and as Cassius in JULIUS CAESAR at the New York Shakespeare Festival. Boutsikaris most recently appeared in QUALITY OF LIFE for The Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles for which he received an Ovation Nomination and Backstage West Garland Award for his performance. Dennis has appeared in many T.V. Movies, including CHASING THE DRAGON (Cable Ace Nomination for Best Supporting Actor), AND THEN THERE WAS ONE, (both for Lifetime), and LOVE & BETRAYAL, SURVIVAL ON THE MOUNTAIN, and THE MIA FARROW STORY as Woody Allen. As a television series regular he has been seen in STAT, THE JACKIE THOMAS SHOW, SIDNEY LUMET'S 100 CENTRE STREET, J.J. Abrams' SIX DEGREES and has lost many, many cases on LAW AND ORDER. His film work includes *batteries not included, DREAM TEAM, BOYS ON THE SIDE, CROCODILE DUNDEE 2 and most recently as Paul Wolfowitz in Oliver Stone's "W." He is the recipient of two Audie Awards for his work in narrating over 60 audiobooks.
ELLIOTT FORREST Elliott is the Co-Artistic Director of Riverspace Arts in Nyack, producing and presenting concerts, events and series of programs. Highlights include producing events with Lewis Black, Eve Ensler and an evening with Edward Albee interviewed by Bill Irwin; overseeing children's series, film series, and music concerts. Elliott Forrest also is a Peabody Award winning broadcaster and Producer. For more than 12 years he was with the A&E Television Network as host of Breakfast with the Arts. He was nominated for an Emmy in 2002 and 2005. Additional A&E hosting duties have included Biography® This Week, Richard Rodgers: Falling in Love, A&E In Concert, Pavarotti in Paris, BioArts and The Pablo Casals Festival from Puerto Rico. He can now be heard on 96.3 FM WQXR in New York and on WQXR.com, the classical radio station in New York City owned by The New York Times. He is heard nationally as the radio host of the syndicated concerts from The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, The Seattle Symphony and The Jerusalem Symphony.
PETE MALINVERNI. Jim Macnie of the Village Voice was recently moved to call Malinverni, “audacious and exquisite”. Since coming to New York in 1981, Pete has established himself as a highly respected presence in local and national club and concert performances, as well as abroad in Europe, South America, and Japan, his work earning him an entry in the Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz, as compiled by Ira Gitler and Leonard Feather. Writing in the Charleston (SC) Post and Courier, Jack McCray called him “a fiery but elegant pianist”, and his varied collaborations stand as testament to his abilities. He’s performed or recorded in the company of jazz luminaries too numerous to mention, exhibiting what Enso Fresia of Italy's Musica Jazz called “an extremely unconstrained and brilliant pianism”. His much-lauded 2003 NPR appearance on Marian McPartland’s “Piano Jazz” put Malinverni before a greater public and his recordings have earned four star reviews and inclusion on “Year’s Best” lists in several publications, including Down Beat Magazine.
Pete Malinverni is a composer, too. A composer of great depth, passion and individuality, he has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Meet the Composer Foundation.
JODY SANDHAUS. Since the 1980’s, Jody has been a fixture on the musical scene in New York and its environs, being heard there and around the world in such venues as New York Steinway Hall, The Charles Ives Performing Arts Center, Zinno Jazz Club, The Villa Celimontana Jazz Festival in Rome, etc.. Her first solo album, "Winter Moon" on Saranac Records, gave us the first opportunity to hear a collection of songs recorded as Jody came to feel them—personally, and without artifice. Reviewing “Winter Moon” in JazzTimes, Chuck Berg said that, “Jody Sandhaus is an evocative vocalist whose sultry after-hours delivery meshes perfectly with such exquisitely excruciating torch tales as “Not in Love.” Berg also remarked that “clearly, Sandhaus is a singer who’s also a musician. She phrases like a horn and swings with uptown élan.” The mother of three, Sandhaus is married to pianist Pete Malinverni, who, along with bassist Rufus Reid and drummer Leroy Williams, joins her on “Winter Moon.” Malinverni, legendary bassist Michael Moore and Leroy Williams ply their significant talents in support of Jody on "I Think of You" released in the Summer of 2001. Jody’s newest CD, "A Fine Spring Morning," released October, 2004. This beautiful CD once again features Pete Malinverni and Leroy Williams. Bassist Todd Coolman joins them on this third album.
JOHN SHEA began a successful stage career soon after his graduation from the Yale School of Drama. He made his New York stage debut in "Yentl" as Avigdor and went on to win plaudits for his performances in "The Sorrows of Stephen" (1979), "The Dining Room" (1982) and "End of the World" (1984). In London, he played the leading role in Larry Kramer's searing AIDS drama "The Normal Heart" (1986). Shea first appeared in film as the son of Jack Lemmon who disappears in Costa-Gavras' "Missing" (1982), won a Best Actor citation at the Montreal Film Festival for his role in "Windy City" (1984) and delivered a villainous turn in "Honey, I Blew Up the Kid" (1992). Shea is also a popular TV actor and won an Emmy for his performance in the 1988 "surrogate mother" miniseries, "Baby M." He co-starred in the short-lived CBS series "WIOU" (1990) and was featured during the run of "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" (ABC, 1993-97) as the charmingly corrupt Lex Luthor. Other television roles include Harold Waldorf in "Gossip Girl," "Law & Order," and "Sex and the City." He will soon appear in two upcoming films: "An Invisible Sign of My Own" and "Achchamundu! Achchamundu!"
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Artists appearing subject to availability.