Selected Shorts: Holding Fast

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Failing a moral test, and the cost of love and loss in stories by American and Irish contemporary writers.

Holding fast… This program features two powerful stories about moral tests and holding fast to beliefs no matter what the cost.  First, John Biguenet’s “I Am Not a Jew,” in which a frightened tourist has a failure of nerve that resonates deeply.  SHORTS literary commentator Hannah Tinti notes that “What makes “I Am Not a Jew” so disturbing is how it dissects the ways we collectively excuse ourselves from standing up for what’s right.”   “I Am Not a Jew” was read by Denis O’Hare, who won a Tony Award for the play “Take Me Out,” and stars on the television series “True Blood.”  The story was presented at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut, and sponsored by

Our second story is by the award-winning novelist Colum McCann, who hosted an evening of his story picks at Symphony Space.  In “Everything in this Country Must,”

the rescue of an endangered horse is colored by the owner’s tragic past and the Irish “troubles.”  Tinti comments, “This is a gut-wrenching story, beautifully told. It starts right in the middle of the action as the narrator and her father try to save a drowning horse. Each step of the drama takes the reader further and further into these characters’ private world.”  The reader is Amy Ryan, who was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for her performance in “Gone Baby Gone.”   Her television work includes roles on “The Wire,” “The Office,” and “In Treatment.”

The musical interludes are from “Music from the Reed Bed,” by Bill Campbell, on “Contemporary Music from Ireland,” vol. 5 and “I Could Have Done More,” from the score for “Schindler’s List,” by John Williams.  

The SELECTED SHORTS theme is Roger Kellaway’s “Come to the Meadow.”

“I Am Not a Jew,” by John Biguenet, performed by Denis O’Hare   

“Everything in this Country Must,” by Colum McCann, performed by Amy Ryan

For additional works featured on SELECTED SHORTS, please visit

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And for more thoughts on the stories in SHORTS, check out literary commentator Hannah Tinti’s site at

(This program first aired during our 2010 season.)