Hints of madness

"If someone in this country is crazy enough to climb up a tree, you can be sure it is Sampath.". – Kiran Desai, “The Sermon in the Guava Tree.”
Ordinary people cross the threshold in tales by Booker Prize-winner Kiran Desai and Etgar Keret.

This program features two stories performed at the Westport Country Playhouse, co-presented by the innovative and ambitious Westport Arts Center. The first is by the Indian writer Kiran Desai whose novel THE INHERITANCE OF LOSS won her England’s version of the Pulitzer, the Man Booker Prize. “Sermon in the Guava Tree,” follows the uneven fortunes of an ordinary man and his disgruntled family when one day he decides to retreat from a disappointing life. Paradoxically, this gives him a place in the world for the first time. The compelling read is by Tazewell Thompson, Artistic Director of the Westport Country Playhouse.

Our second story is “Crazy Glue,” by the provocative Israeli writer Etgar Keret. Host Isaiah Sheffer thinks of Keret as a kind of Israeli Haruki Murakami, with his very hip, terse, tension-filled tales. He is also a screenwriter and director, most recently winning the Camera d’Or prize at the Cannes Film Festival for his direction the film “Meduzot” or “Jellyfish”. “Crazy Glue,” read at Westport by Chris Sarandon, gives us a look at a bizarre and transformative moment in an emotionally sluggish marriage.

The remaining works on this program are pieces created as part of Symphony Space’s adult literacy program ALL WRITE!, which gives hundreds of students, all studying in various literacy programs in all five boroughs of New York City, an opportunity to hear short stories read by actors, and then invites them to create works of their own to be considered for presentation at a special live event, and on the radio. The moving short pieces featured in this program were written by literacy students imprisoned in the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. Each is under a minute in length, but they pack an emotional wallop in their yearning for freedom and the smallest details of ordinary life. The readers are Isaiah Sheffer; Sonia Manzano; Sydia Cedeno; and Michael Keck.

The Sermon in the Guava Tree by Kiran Desai, read by Tazewell Thompson Crazy Glue by Etgar Keret, translated by Miriam Schlesinger, read by Chris Sarandon Selections from ALL WRITE!

For additional works featured on SELECTED SHORTS, please visit Symphony Space