Month: September 2018

Jared Sampson’s Mom

 by Dallas Woodburn

CHARACTERS (in order of appearance)

GRACE:A college student and the play’s main character/narrator                 YOUNG JARED SAMPSON: A typical eighth-grade boy—not a dork, but not particularly cool either.
JASMINE:Grace’s roommate, also a college student. Self-absorbed and showy.
SASHA:Grace’s roommate. An art student in college.
JARED SAMPSON’S MOM:An attractive, pleasant middle-aged woman wearing bright red lipstick and flower-patterned capri pants.
YOUNG HENRIETTA:Grace’s best friend in eighth grade.
YOUNG GRACE:A typical eighth-grade girl—pretty, well-liked, but not one of the fashionable popular girls.
YOUNG JARED’S FRIENDS:Two or thre eighth-grade boys.
SCOTT:A college student. Grace’s boyfriend.
BECKY:A college student. Scott’s friend. Pretty and flirtatious.

SETTING:An apartment shared by three college girls. Center stage is a couch, perhaps also a coffee table littered with magazines, textbooks, empty water glasses, an empty take-out container or two. The apartment is not filthy but has a lived-in feeling to it.
Downstage right is a chair and table, representing a desk. This is GRACE’s bedroom. There may also be a poster on the wall, books and papers scattered on the desk, and a lamp.
Downstage left is an empty chair. This represents the area in GRACE’s imaginings and memories: where SCOTT will appear, in addition to memories with YOUNG GRACE, YOUNG JARED, and JARED SAMPSON’S MOM. To further differentiate GRACE’s memories from the present, the remembered scenes and imagined characters always appear here in a spotlight rather than full lighting.

Lights come up on the entire stage. GRACE is half-sitting, half-leaning against the front of the desk in her bedroom. Nothing is between her and the audience. She addresses the audience directly with her opening monologue.

Read More

TCR Talks with David Ulin

BY: Heather Scott Partington

David Ulin’s The Lost Art of Reading: Books and Resistance in a Troubled Time was rereleased this fall with a new introduction and afterword that speak to our contentious political climate. Ulin–critic, author, and ruminator in the best sense of the word–reframes his 2010 argument for the role of books in 2018’s dysfunction, fake news, and fractured narrative. Can reading save us? Ulin isn’t sure, but he sees value in resisting cynicism.

The author spoke recently with critic Heather Scott Partington by email about the value of engagement with the written word: an “empathy machine” and our “ongoing human conversation.”

Read More

Book Review: Dallas Woodburn’s “Woman, Running Late, in a Dress”

BY A.M. Larks

Dallas Woodburn’s debut collection of stories, Woman, Running Late, in a Dress, is characterized as interwoven stories, interlinked stories, and, in her own words, “a short story cycle.”

A short story cycle is a curious beast. It is the narwhal of the literary world, a being so odd the Internet could have made it up. But narwhals and short story cycles do exist, and both are rare.

Read More

Watching Over

BY: Rishitha Shetty                                            

Daaru tasted love in the first bite of fish. So much so, that when little Kumara pinched an ant between his fingers and brought it to his lips, she did not notice. She crunched on, her tongue sucking river off of its burnt tail. She preferred the fish from the river Netravati to that of the sea; its delicious stink stayed on her palm for days. Mother Netravati bled into boulders every year during monsoon and her wrath flowed out of the soggy flesh of dead things, and this was the first catch after the rains; she mixed juice and love and placed them between bones.

Read More

TCR Talks with Gloria Harrison

By: Jaime Stickle

My introduction to Gloria Harrison was the short film Let’s See How Fast This Baby Will Go, based on her essay of the same title, first published by The Nervous Breakdown. It is the true story of a nineteen-year-old woman in labor, on the verge of giving away her baby, who first stops to buy a car. That woman is Gloria.

Gloria Harrison is a storyteller whose work has appeared on The Nervous Breakdown, This American Life, The Weeklings, Fictionaut, Other People with Brad Listi podcast, The Manifest Station, and Sweatpants and Coffee. In January 2017, a short film adaptation of her story that appeared on This American Life, “Let’s See How Fast This Baby Will Go,” was released by Australian director Julietta Boscolo. It is currently playing at film festivals around the world.

Read More

Book Review: Kristi Coulter’s “Nothing Good Can Come From This”

By Charli Engelhorn

If there was a warning label on the cover of Kristi Coulter’s debut book of essays, Nothing Good Can Come from This, it might read, “This book will cause you to interrogate your life, habits, and doctrines and challenge any previous assessments made about your relationship with alcohol.” That is not to say Coulter’s essays presume to convince the reader of a closeted drinking problem; rather, her heart-rendering prose ladled with sardonic wit create a rumination on the mundane persistence of time, the dichotomy of who we are and who we pretend to be, and the nature of society and compromises required therein, which, if one is not careful, can accumulate into addiction. With a quick and often dark cadence, Coulter weaves her essays to create a remarkable story about the unremarkableness of her journey to sobriety, not in the feat itself, but in the banal scenarios that led to her drinking and decision to stop. There is no melodrama infused in the stories of her alcoholism or sobriety, no sensationalism about addiction, no wringing hands or desperate pleas to the gods. As Coulter explains, after years of massages, yoga, therapists, and other attempts to trick her into wanting to quit, she woke up one day and realized, “what I wanted was no longer important. I would just have to wait and hope that eventually I would want something else.”

Read More

Bread and Circuses

BY: Wendy Fontaine

While roasting a chicken for dinner and mixing banana bread for the weekend, I turn on the television to listen to the news, mostly for background noise. The regular reporting is on hold, though, as the driver of a red Ford Explorer leads the California Highway Patrol on a chase through North Hollywood, Studio City, and Sherman Oaks. Normally, these pursuits happen at night, under cover of darkness on relatively empty freeways, blue lights flashing through the neighborhoods of Los Angeles. But this chase is different: it is happening at five o’clock in a residential area near the Westfield Fashion Square shopping center off Woodman Avenue. I know the area well; it’s one block from my yoga studio, two blocks from my favorite nail salon.

I set the oven to 350 degrees, then turn up the volume on the television.

Read More

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén