In our Arts Express Playhouse, a short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Gilman is best known for her novella The Yellow Wallpaper, but she also wrote hundreds of other short stories. The one I’m reading above, “If I Were a Man,” was written in 1914, before women even had the right to vote in the US, but it seems a whole lot more modern.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the story as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio show, heard on WBAI-FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.
It’s April 23rd, and for us it marks the anniversary of both the birthday of William Shakespeare and the day he died. In celebration of the date, we have produced a new radio version of one of the most intriguing of Shakespeare’s plays, Measure for Measure. I call it Shakespeare’s #Me Too play, and with its up to the minute Me Too themes of sexual harassment and hypocritical Puritanical seeming lying politicians, it couldn’t be more relevant to today. Of course, we couldn’t broadcast our entire play in our Arts Express time slot, but we are happy to present to you a key scene featuring two of our Arts Express stalwarts, Mary Murphy and KeShaun Luckie.
So let’s set the scene: We’re in 16th century Vienna and the newly appointed interim Mayor, Lord Angelo, has just declared a new Puritanical ban on out-of-marriage fornication, punishable by death. A young woman, Isabella, learns, just as she is about to take vows to become a nun, that her poor brother Claudio has run afoul of these laws and is about to be executed. She runs to Lord Angelo to beg him to spare her brother’s life, but Angelo insists that the law must be done. However, Angelo is secretly enamored by Isabella and he wants to see her again, so he tells her to come back the next day and maybe he will reconsider. And so, Isabella returns to Lord Angelo to plead again for her brother.
And now what happens next, from Measure For Measure.
Click on the triangle or mp3 link above to hear the segment as broadcast today on Arts Express radio, heard on WBAI FM and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.
And If you’d like to listen to our entire production of the play, you can hear it here:
Earl Robinson may not be so well known nowadays as he once was, but in the 1930s, 40s and 50s, a huge number of Americans knew his music. He was the composer of “The House I Live In,” “Joe Hill,” “Ballad for Americans,” and many others. Singers of his works included Paul Robeson, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Joan Baez, and Three Dog Night. His music crossed the boundaries of folk, Broadway musical, classical, and even rock. Throughout his life he was driven by a need to improve working people’s lives, and he was a longtime member of the Communist Party, which resulted in his being called before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee. His autobiography, Ballad of an American, written in collaboration with author Eric Gordon, was released in 1998, and has been out of print. Now it is being re-released, and we are happy to bring you, through the permission of Eric Gordon, this extract from the book, where we enact, in Earl’s words, his tangle with the House UnAmerican Activities Committee.
Click on the triangle above to hear the reading as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio program on WBAI-FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the country.
More and more today’s world is looking Kafkaesque, so I thought this week we’d go back to the original. The Franz Kafka’s short story, “A Hunger Artist,” was published in final form in 1924. In it, Kafka tells a tale that almost any artist today can identify with. Kafka edited the story on his death bed as he lay dying from tuberculosis at the age of 40.
Click on the grey triangle or mp3 link above to hear the story, which I adapted and performed, broadcast today on Arts Express on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the country.
This September we celebrate the birthday of author Sarah Jewett, who was born September 3rd, 1849. Her short stories and poetry were infused with local color and country life, but there are deeper themes running through her work as well: feminist critics have championed her writing for its rich account of women’s lives and voices, and ecologically minded critics have praised her works for her deep love of the natural world.
I adapted and performed on the radio one of her most famous stories, “A White Heron,” in which a young girl has to decide what’s most important to her in life.
Click on the grey triangle or mp3 link above to hear the story as broadcast today on Arts Express on WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the country.
For Halloween, something special, an homage to the old-time 1940s suspense radio series Lights Out. I wrote and produced a modern update of the Lights Out episode called “Revolt of The Worms” for the Arts Express radio program, broadcast today over WBAI FM NYC and Pacifica affiliates across the nation.
“We caution you. This story is definitely not for the timid soul. So we tell you, calmly and very sincerely, if you frighten easily, turn off your radio now. And now if you haven’t already done so, turn off your… lights now… and listen to… Revolt of the Worms.”
Starring Mary Murphy, Josh Miccio and Reggie Johnson.
To listen, click on the triangle or image to play.
This month we celebrate the birthday of Herman Melville. He’s best known for his epic Moby Dick, but Melville’s short story, “Bartleby the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street,” about a strangely resistant office worker, is a favorite of ours. Though academics have long argued about Bartleby’s meaning, and we could outline our own point of view…we would…prefer…not to.
We hope you enjoy our adaptation and performance, as broadcast today on the Arts Express radio program on WBAI 99.5 FM NYC.