Figuring it Out

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2 segments

I was there to listen, to connect with Johanna, and I tried my best. But after a while I stopped paying attention to her words and just listened to her voice, the foreign sound of it. It was like if Johanna and I were birds, her song wouldn’t be the song I’d recognize. It would be the song of a species of bird from a different continent, some species that nested in cathedral belfries or windmills, which, to my kind of bird, would be like, Well, la-di-da. —Jeffrey Eugenides, “Find the Bad Guy.”

Guest host Michael Cerveris presents two stories about people—and not people—in search of solutions. In our first story, a green card romance turned into the real thing, but 20 years later this husband and wife have lost their way. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jeffrey Eugenides has imagined a strange and sometimes dark America in his novels The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex. But “Find the Bad Guy” is familiar territory: a baffled father and dad is trying to figure out why his marriage went off the rails. The story is read by John Benjamin Hickey, a Tony Award winner for his performance in “A Normal Heart,” among other work.

People aren’t the only ones with problems: In Seth Fried’s “The Adventure of the Computer Program,” a mainframe doesn’t know what to do with all that data, all those memories, all that anticipation, all that choice. The reader is Santino Fontana, whose work in theatre includes “Billy Elliot,” “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” and “Cinderella.” And, he’s the voice of Prince Hans in the popular animated film “Frozen.”

“Find the Bad Guy,” by Jeffrey Eugenides, performed by John Benjamin Hickey

“The Adventure of the Computer Program,” by Seth Fried, performed by Santino Fontana

The SELECTED SHORTS theme is David Peterson's “That's the Deal,” performed by the Deardorf/Peterson Group.

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