Tennessee, Edna, and Flannery

“Life Story” by Tennessee Williams, read by Mia Dillon “Violets” by Edna O’Brien, read by Fionnula Flanagan “The Life You Save May Be Your Own” by Flannery O’Connor, read by Lois Smith

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Each of the three works on this program, by masters Tennessee Williams, Edna O’Brien, and Flannery O’Connor, offers us intense and provocative close-ups of its main characters. 

First, the ironically titled, “Life Story,” is a very short prose poem by Williams—who will be remembered in history as the playwright who created such works as “The Glass Menagerie,” “A Streecar Named Desire,” and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,”—when he was still young Thomas Lanier Williams.  Its premise: what you talk about in bed with your partner, once the love-making is over, and why it may not be a good idea.  The succulent read is by Mia Dillon.

We continue our program of personal close-ups with the great storyteller Edna O’Brien’s story, “Violets,” which is really a dramatic monologue.  A woman sits at her dressing table, looking into the mirror, and awaiting the arrival of a potential lover.  Will he come, or will he stand her up?  What will she say to him if he does appear? Will she have the courage to say what she feels?  The reader is Fionnula Flanagan, an old friend of O’Brien’s.

From an Irish musing to a Southern comic fable by the writer who brought us “Everything That Rises Much Converge,” and “A Good Man is Hard to Find.”  In this wry tale of  Flannery O’Connor’s a woman and her somewhat peculiar daughter are settin’ on the front porch on a dusty hot summer day, when up the dirt road comes a one-armed tramp whose name turns out to be Mr. Shiftlet, just one sound away from “shiftless”.  The story’s provocative title is “The Life You Save May Be Your Own.” But whose life gets saved here, mother, daughter, or tramp?  The reader is Lois Smith, recent star of “True Blood” among many film and television appearances.

The musical interlude is “Nightnoise,” by the band of the same name, and the SELECTED SHORTS theme is Roger Kellaway’s “Come to the Meadow.”

For additional works featured on SELECTED SHORTS, please visit

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Mia Dillon, Fionnula Flanagan and Lois Smith

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