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Selected Shorts: Pushing the Limits

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Guest host John Lithgow raises the curtain on five comic tales, classic and cutting-edge.

First, New Yorker magazine writer and Algonquin Round Table regular Dorothy Parker describes the hangover from hell in “You Were Perfectly Fine.”   First published in 1929, this hilarious tale of a young man waking up from a bender wears well, and gets new polish from readers David Furr and Aya Cash.  Next, Simon Rich brings his “Saturday Night Live” prankishness to a traditional coming-of-age story—with a twist.  Comic Wyatt Cenac, late of “The Morning Show,” reads.  Alec Baldwin gives a great performance of a James Thurber classic, “The Day the Dam Broke.”  Thurber, another New Yorker contributor, wrote a string of stories for his mock memoir My Life and Hard Times that only slightly exaggerated the winsome strangeness of small town life. 

Simon Rich is back with “Center of the Universe,” a story that imagines what God would have done on the seven days of Creation if his girl friend had complained.  SHORTS’ late host and founder Isaiah Sheffer was the reader.   Finally, more spiritual high jinks from Ron Carlson—could there be a tablecloth of Turin?  Reader Edi Gathegi’s television and film credits include alluring roles in “House,” “Gone Baby Gone,” “Twilight, and “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” but here he makes a very convincing ex-insurance investigator who has seen the light.

“You Were Perfectly Fine,” by Dorothy Parker, performed by Aya Cash and David Furr “Unprotected,” by Simon Rich, performed by Wyatt Cenac

“The Day the Dam Broke,” by James Thurber, performed by Alec Baldwin

“Center of the Universe,” by Simon Rich, performed by Isaiah Sheffer

“The Tablecloth of Turin,” by Ron Carlson, performed by Edi Gathegi

(This is a repeat broadcast)

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 http://www.symphonyspace.org/genres/seriesPage.php?seriesId=71&genreId=4

Information about the 2014 Stella Kupferberg Short Story Prize Competition is available now:  http://www.selectedshorts.org/extras/writing-contest-2/

We’re interested in your response to these programs.  Please comment on this site or visit www.selectedshorts.org

And for more thoughts on the stories in SHORTS, check out literary commentator Hannah Tinti’s site at http://hannahtinti.com

 

Guests:

Alec Baldwin, Wyatt Cenac and John Lithgow

Produced by:

Sarah Montague

Hangover from Hell

This reading by Aya Cash and David Furr of Dorothy Parker’s hilarious hangover tale “You Were Perfectly Fine” is part of the SELECTED SHORTS program “Pushing the Limits,” hosted by John Lithgow.

Comment

Growing Up

This reading by Wyatt Cenac of Simon Rich’s coming-of-age story with a twist, “Unprotected,” is part of the SELECTED SHORTS program “Pushing the Limits,” hosted by John Lithgow.

Comment

Run for the Hills!

This reading by Alec Baldwin of James Thurber’s tale of a small town losing its mind, “The Day the Dam Broke,” is part of the SELECTED SHORTS program “Pushing the Limits,” hosted by John Lithgow.

Comment

God, Get Over Yourself

This reading by Isaiah Sheffer of Simon Rich’s comic look at God’s dating problem is part of the SELECTED SHORTS program “Pushing the Limits,” hosted by John Lithgow.

Comment

Leftover from The Last Supper?

This reading by Edi Gathegi of Ron Carlson’s lighthearted take on sacred relics, “The Tablecloth of Turin,” is part of the SELECTED SHORTS program “Pushing the Limits,” hosted by John Lithgow.

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