Michael Weiland reads Griffin Lamachy’s “Journalissimo”

Ever wonder what it feels like to be inside an artist’s head? We loved Michael Weiland’s performance of “Journalissimo” by Griffin Lamachy on April 11 at Cafe Stritch:

As always, it’s a pleasure to hear Michael read. Big thanks to Griffin for sharing his words with us!

 

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Ronald Feichtmeir reads “The Fisherman and the Cloak” by Charlene Logan Burnett

We fell in love with Charlene Logan Burnett’s mythic “The Fisherman and the Cloak” this year and were lucky enough to find the perfect person to perform it. Many thanks to the talented Ronald Feichtmeir, who made his Play On Words debut on April 11 at Cafe Stritch:

Many thanks to Ronald for capturing the tone and tenor of Charlene’s beautifully written story. To read more of her work, check out “Boardwalk ’62,” published this spring in Blackbird magazine.

Our next Play On Words show will be a one-of-a-kind theatrical experience taking place on August 29 at Redwood City’s Dragon Theatre. Stay tuned in the next few weeks to learn more!

Arcadia Conrad reads work by Tania Martin

Rites of passage can occur at any age. Just ask the narrator of Tania Martin‘s “Rites of Passage,” who is learning to ride a motorcycle alongside a gang of young men. Here is the amazing Arcadia Conrad performing Tania’s story on April 11th at Cafe Stritch:

Big thanks to Arcadia to loaning us her voice, and to Tania, co-founder of San Jose’s Flash Fiction Forum  for sharing this wonderful story with us. Fans of FFF should consider submitting for their next season, starting this fall.

Arcadia Conrad reads “The Boy in the Van”

What happens when a young American girl in the Middle East encounters a friendly boy looking for a friend? One of two things happen, according to Marilyn Horn‘s story “The Boy in the Van.” The fabulous Arcadia Conrad performed this great piece on April 11 at our New Horizons show at Cafe Stritch:

Many thanks to Arcadia for loaning us her voice–and to Marilyn for sharing her story.

The next Play On Words show on the books is at Redwood City’s Dragon Theatre on August 29, though we are searching for a venue for a summer show before then. If you’re interested in participating in upcoming shows, shoot us an email at playonwordssj@gmail.com.

Marilyn Horn’s “Boy in the Van”

 

We love stories with a strong voice. That’s why we were drawn to Marilyn Horn’s “The Boy in the Van,” which follows a young narrator as she fails to befriend a boy Tehran. The lovely Arcadia Conrad performed this piece on April 11 at our Play On Words: New Horizons show.

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Marilyn Horn

Marilyn Horn is a technical editor in Silicon Valley. Her short stories have appeared in publications such as Blotterature, Marathon Review and Waccamaw, and her collection Beyond the Fence was published in 2016 by Thinking Ink Press. 

 

What inspired you to participate in Play On Words?

I’ve had other stories (“Snake,” “April in Paris,” and “Neighbor”) performed by Play on Words. There’s nothing quite like hearing your words being interpreted by those fantastic POW players.

Which writers or performers inspire you?

Lately I’ve been inspired by Donna Tartt and Kobayashi Issa. That may change.

Name a book or performance that fundamentally affected you.

Elizabeth Taylor in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? You need to check that out if you haven’t already.

Stay tuned to watch footage from our April 11 show and discover ways to participate in future events.

Valerie Fioravanti’s “Glove”

About last night:

We filled Cafe Stritch with artists, writers, performers, volunteers, and friends, old and new. It feels so good to see our community expanding–blossoming in ways we never expected. In the coming weeks and months we’ll be sharing content from Play On Words: New Horizons, and until then, we’d like to feature a few more of the writers whose work we shared onstage last night.

Play On Words exists in part because of something Valerie Fioravanti said to Julia Halprin Jackson way back in 2013. Valerie is the artistic genius behind Sacramento Stories on Stage, an organization which produces short fiction in the heart of our capital city. Julia had driven 100 miles to see work by the writer Alex Russell performed in Sacramento, and remarked that she wished that there was a Stories on Stage in her own neighborhood. Valerie looked at her and said,”You could start one. That’s what I did.”

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Valerie Fioravanti

Five years later, we were delighted to work with Valerie once again. Valerie is the author of the linked story collection Garbage Night at the Opera. Her fiction and creative nonfiction have appeared in many literary journals, including North American Review, Cimarron Review, and LUMINA. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize eight times. Her story Garbage Night at the Opera received special mention in the anthology. A former Fulbright Fellow in creative writing to Italy, she has won the Chandra Prize for Short Fiction and the Tillie Olsen Short Story Award. Valerie had two stories recently published in North American Review. She wrote about social bubbles and her second collection on their blog.

 

We first performed Valerie’s work in 2015, and were thrilled to bring her new piece, “Toilet Paper Glove,” to light last night at Cafe Stritch. We’ll share footage from this in the next several weeks. Until then, Valerie was kind enough to answer some questions for us.

 

What inspired you to participate in Play On Words?

Have to check on my literary children every once in a while 😉.

Which writers or performers inspire you?

I’m blown away by Karen Bender. She’s a teacher, mom, editor, writer, and committed social activist. I suspect there are five of her. Or I’m a sloth. One of these statements must be true.

Name a book or performance that fundamentally affected you.

Tillie Olsen’s Tell Me A Riddle blew me away as a teenager. It was the first time I read work about working class characters from the female perspective, and those moments of literary recognition are so important for a young writer, even one who hasn’t yet articulated her desire to write.

Thank you to all of the writers, performers, artists and volunteers who joined us last night. Stay tuned to access footage from last night’s show and learn how to participate in upcoming events.