Selected Shorts: Confused Couples

A failing marriage, a failed affair and “one of them is lying,” in three pieces involving couples.

Nathan Englander’s “For the Relief of Unbearable Urges” chronicles the misadventures of a pious resident of Jerusalem who seeks sexual advice from his rabbi—with unexpected results. (Parental guidance is suggested for young listeners because of some delicate parts of this warm and funny tale.) The reader is Jefferson Mays, Tony Award winner for his solo performance in “I am My Own Wife.”

Playwright Neil LaBute contributes our next story, in which a couple on the verge of an illicit weekend reach an emotional crossroads instead.  The story is “A Second of Pleasure,” the title work from LaBute’s story collection. The readers of this duet for the heartsick are the film and television actors Maura Tierney (“ER,” “CSI”) and Andrew McCarthy (“St. Elmo’s Fire”).

This program of couples and confusion concludes with another twosome, Barbara Barrie and David Strathairn reading Sue Allison’s delightful confessional collage, “Lies I’ve Told.”

The musical interlude in this program is “Neshamah”, by John Zorn, on the album “Masada Five.” The SELECTED SHORTS theme is Roger Kellaway’s “Come to the Meadow.”

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