Selected Shorts: Little Fellows

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We indulge in a bit of word play with this program, a SELECTED SHORTS event featuring two stories about short(er) people, and two fractured fairy tales.

Kim Addonizio’s “Ever After” is a bitter sweet retelling of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” with the dwarves relocated to a five-floor-walkup, leading marginal lives and waiting until She appears.  Literary commentator Hannah Tinti notes that “this story could have been just a parody, but Addonizio takes it to a deeper level, with great resonance.”  There’s some adult content here, but all in the service of showing that the longing for “ever after” is in everyone, always.  The reader, making her SELECTED SHORTS debut, is “Grey Gardens” star Christine Ebersole.         

Dwarves are short forever, but boys are only short as children.  Our next story is Rick Moody’s beautifully crafted “Boys,” which traces the whole history of two brothers through the simple repetition of the phrase “boys enter the house.” Tinti comments, “’Boys’ is a story I have read many times, and every time I do I am wowed by the way Moody uses language and repetition to create a verbal pattern.  So that when that pattern is broken at the end of the story, the listener feels the blow of it.”  “Boys” is read by the stage and television star B.D. Wong, who is also a children’s book author.

Natalie Babbitt’s “The Fortunes of Madame Organza,” from her collection “The Devil's Other Storybook,” shares with Addonizio’s “Ever After” a somewhat wry perspective on fairy and folk tales.  In this case, what happens when the lame predictions of a completely hopeless fortune teller actually come true?  Well, there’s the Devil to pay, according to Babbitt.  “The Fortunes of Madame Organza,”  was read at The Getty Center in Los Angeles by Janel Maloney, a star of the long-running series "The West Wing."  Other television credits include appearances on “Law and Order: SVU”; “House, M.D.”; and “Life on Mars.”  And while we didn’t plan this as a family affair, Maloney is also Christine Ebersole’s niece!

The musical interludes are from Eric Coates’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and  “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” by Harold Arlen. The SELECTED SHORTS theme is Roger Kellaway’s “Come to the Meadow.”

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Announcing the 2011 Stella Kupferberg Memorial Short Story Prize.  This year's theme is stories set in restaurants and bars.  The judge is the author Jennifer Egan and the deadline is March 1, 2011.