Selected Shorts: Alternative Endings

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2 segments

On this program, two stories about powerful maternal instincts, and choices with very different outcomes.

Amy Hempel describes her story “Beg, SI Tog, Inc, Cont, Rep” as “the story of a friendship surviving very different choices.” As the narrator draws us into her many knitting projects (crafters will recognize the title as instructions for a pattern), we realize that they stand in for emotions she cannot express or completely acknowledge—a common thread among Hempel’s many tragic-comic narratives. The reader is Anika Noni Rose, who won a Tony Award for her performance in “Caroline, or Change,” and was nominated for a Tony for her work in the 2014 Broadway revival of “A Raisin in the Sun.” Film work includes “Dreamgirls,” “Colored Girls,” and “The Princess and the Frog” (voice).

Guest host Jane Curtin reads our second work, Galina Vroman’s “Sarah’s Story,” a provocative retelling of the Old Testament narrative of Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac. The stakes are high, but the story is also gently humorous—and may recount the first instance of a husband being tactfully managed by his wife! In addition to her many years as a SHORTS’ reader, Jane Curtin’s successful television career includes the programs “Saturday Night Live” (original cast member), “Kate & Allie,” and “Third Rock from the Sun.” She is currently in the cast of “Unforgettable.”

“Beg, SI Tog, Inc, Cont, Rep (Begin, Slip together, Increase, Continue, Repeat)” by Amy Hempel, performed by Anika Noni Rose
“Sarah’s Story,” by Galina Vroman, performed by Jane Curtin

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