Romantic confusion and comic advice for the lovelorn are offered in the five stories on this program.
First, Patricia Marx tracks a difficult courtship in “Starting from Happy” in an excerpt from her illustrated novel of the same name. The reader is SHORTS’ go-to girl for wacky, Kirsten Vangsness.
If the characters in the first Marx piece are starting from happy, things have ended badly for her second pair. We know this because our guide, Debby, is taking us on an “Audio Tour,” of her ex-boyfriend’s apartment. (“You are standing in Todd Niesle’s foyer. The faux faux-marble table on your right is attributed to Todd Niesle’s mother, circa last Christmas. It’s a fine example of a piece that I, Debby, do not like.”) Marx is a staff writer for The New Yorker, and the story is read by Anna Chlumsky, who starred in the rite-of-passage films “My Girl” and “My Girl 2.” She currently has a featured role on “Veep,” and other television credits include “White Collar” and “Law and Order: SVU.”
In between these two tales, Simon Rich re-imagines the “Occupy” movement as a love triangle. A frustrated activist channels his problems with the “fat cats” of Wall Street into an equal frustration with the unattainable girl he’s had a crush on since their first day of college. Rich was a staff writer for “Saturday Night Live,” and his books include Elliot Allagash, What in God’s Name, and Last Girlfriend on Earth, which features “Occupy Jen’s Street.” The reader is comedian Wyatt Cenac, formerly of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”
Coaching a “Swim Team” is a cure for a broken heart in Miranda July’s story, read by guest host Parker Posey. July is a writer, filmmaker and performance artist whose books include No One Belongs Here More than You, Corpse Tale, and It Chooses You.
Finally, man is confounded by a confident woman in Aimee Bender’s “The Meeting,” read by Kate Burton at the Boston University Theatre in Boston, presented by the Huntington Theatre Company and Jonathan Reinis Productions. Bender is the author of the books The Girl in the Flammable Skirt, An Invisible Sign of My Own, Willful Creatures, and The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake among other works.
Reader Kate Burton’s many credits include her critically acclaimed performance in Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabler,” and roles in the television series “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Grimm,” and “Scandal.” She is a frequent performer at the Williamstown Theater Festival. LISTEN TO THE SHOW