Selected Shorts partnered with The Summer Nostos Festival RetroFuture Edition in Athens, Greece for a special virtual evening of fascinating, hilarious, and poignant short stories on the theme of A.I. and Humanity. Actors Kathleen Chalfant (The Affair), Valorie Curry (The Tick), Sam Underwood (Fear the Walking Dead), and Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) explore the complex relationship between humans and their brilliant creations.
Hosted by Valorie Curry
Cat Pictures Please by Naomi Kritzer
Performed by Nia Vardalos
There Will Come Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury
Performed by Kathleen Chalfant
The Eyes of the Soul by Michel Faber
Performed by Sam Underwood
Sci-Fi by Tracy K. Smith
Performed by Valorie Curry
THE ARTISTS (in alphabetical order)
Ray Bradbury (1920 - 2012) wrote more than 500 works, including short stories, novels, verse, plays, screenplays, and television scripts. Among his best-known books are The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Fahrenheit 451, and Something Wicked This Way Comes. During his lifetime, he received a medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the National Book Foundation, the O. Henry Memorial Award, the Benjamin Franklin Award, the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America, and the J. Lloyd Eaton Lifetime Achievement Award in Science Fiction from the University of California, Riverside.
Kathleen Chalfant’s Broadway credits include Angels in America, Racing Demon, Dance With Me, and M. Butterfly. She has appeared off-Broadway in Wit, for which she won Drama Desk, Obie, Lucille Lortel, and Outer Critics Circle Awards; Nine Armenians; Henry V; the Women’s Project Theater production of Dear Elizabeth by Sarah Ruhl; The Courtroom; Novenas for a Lost Hospital; and A Woman Of The World. Her film credits include Duplicity, Kinsey, Bob Roberts, and Class Rank. Chalfant has had recurring roles on The Book of Daniel, Rescue Me, House of Cards, Madam Secretary, Doubt, and The Affair, as well as The Laramie Project, Law & Order, and Georgia O'Keeffe. She was awarded the 1996 Obie Award for Sustained Excellence, and the Drama League and Sidney Kingsley Awards for her body of work. Chalfant will appear in the forthcoming film Before/During/After.
Valorie Curry is a founding member of Los Angeles’ Ovation Award-winning Coeurage Theatre Company, with which she starred in Balm in Gilead and the West Coast premiere of Shakespeare’s Double Falsehood. Additional theater credits include One Day When We Were Young at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The Diviners at The Kennedy Center, and The Diary of Anne Frank at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts. On television, she has appeared in The Following, Veronica Mars, Psych, CSI: New York, House of Lies, and the Amazon series The Tick. Her film credits include Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Blair Witch, American Pastoral, After Darkness, and Inherit the Viper. She is the founder of the production company 26 Films and a member of New York’s Fundamental Theater Project.
Michel Faber is a novelist, poet, and journalist best known for his novels The Crimson Petal and the White, which was adapted into a four-part television series, Under the Skin, which was adapted into a film, The Fire Gospel, and The Book of Strange New Things. He is also the author of five short story collections, a book of poetry, and contributes literary reviews to The Guardian. Two of his novels were honored with the Saltire Book of the Year Award, in 2000 and 2015. His next novel, D: A Tale of Two Worlds, is forthcoming.
Naomi Kritzer is a science fiction and fantasy writer living in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her 2015 short story “Cat Pictures Please” was a Locus Award and Hugo Award winner, and was nominated for a Nebula Award. A subsequent short story collection of the same title followed in 2017. Kritzer’s novels include the Freedom series, Turning the Storm, Fires of the Faithful, and the young adult novel Catfishing on CatNet, which was honored with a Minnesota Book Award, an Edgar Award, and a Nautilus Silver.
Tracy K. Smith is the author of the memoir No Ordinary Light and four books of poetry: The Body’s Question, winner of the 2002 Cave Canem Prize; Duende, winner of the James Laughlin Award and the Essence Literary Award; Life on Mars, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for poetry; and most recently, Wade in the Water. Her writing has been featured in Poems, Poets, Poetry; McSweeney's Book of Poets Picking Poets; New Voices: Contemporary Poetry from the United States; and many more. She won the Academy of American Poets fellowship in 2014, previously held a Stegner fellowship at Stanford University, and from 2017 to 2019 served as the United States Poet Laureate. Currently, Smith is the director of Princeton University’s creative writing program and the host of the podcast The Slowdown.
Sam Underwood’s television credits include recurring roles on Showtime’s Dexter and Homeland, Fox’s The Following, Power on STARZ, AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead, the film adaptation of the musical Hello Again, and most recently as Adam Carrington on the reboot of Dynasty. He is the founder and artistic director of New York’s Fundamental Theater Project, with which he produced and starred in One Day When We Were Young by Nick Payne with Valorie Curry at the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. His New York theater credits include Candida at The Irish Repertory Theatre, The Picture of Dorian Gray at The Pershing Square Signature Theatre, and Equus at John Drew Theater at Guild Hall. Underwood is Creative Director of Initiative Productions, with which he has produced and starred in the short film Ophelia and his one-man show, Losing Days. He will appear in the forthcoming film The Drummer.
Nia Vardalos is the Academy Award nominated screenwriter and Golden Globe nominated actress of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the number one romantic comedy of all time, for which she won the People's Choice and Independent Spirit awards. Her films include Connie and Carla, My Life in Ruins, I Hate Valentine’s Day, Larry Crowne, and My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. Her television credits include Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Law & Order: SVU, Jane the Virgin, Grey’s Anatomy, and several seasons voicing roles on Duck Tales and Star vs. the Forces of Evil. Tiny Beautiful Things, the play she adapted from the beloved book by Cheryl Strayed, is a New York Times Critic’s Pick and is on the List of Top Ten Most Produced Plays of 2019/2020. Vardalos's memoir, Instant Mom, is a New York Times bestseller. All proceeds are donated to adoption groups.
“Cat Pictures Please” by Naomi Kritzer, from Clarkesworld (January 2015), edited by the author. Copyright © 2015, 2020 by Naomi Kritzer. Used by permission of the author.
“There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray Bradbury. Copyright © 1995 by the Crowell Collier Publishing Company, renewed 1977 by Ray Bradbury. Used by permission of Don Congdon Associates, Inc.
“The Eyes of the Soul” by Michel Faber, from Vanilla Bright Like Eminem (Harcourt, 2007). First appeared in Macallan Shorts (February 1998). Copyright © 1998 by Michel Faber. Used by permission of Canongate Rights.
“Sci-Fi” by Tracy K. Smith, from Life on Mars (Graywolf Press, 2011). Copyright © 2011 by Tracy K. Smith. Used by permission of Graywolf Press.
Selected Shorts is produced by Symphony Space and broadcast on more than 150 stations around the country. The series began in 1985 and enjoys sold-out performances to this day. Selected Shorts was conceived with a simple premise: take great stories by well-known and emerging writers and have them performed by terrific actors of stage and screen. Featuring stories around a lively theme, the favorite works of a guest author, or a special collaboration, each Selected Shorts event is a unique night of literature in performance.
The Summer Nostos Festival (SNFestival) is an international multifaceted arts, sports and education festival, organized and made possible through the exclusive support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF). Admission is free for all, and the festival is addressed to visitors of all age groups and interests, aspiring to become a friendly, creative platform where people can get together, express themselves, and exchange ideas. Every June, the SNFestival finds an ideal venue in the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC), activating multiple spaces in the SNFCC, both indoors and outdoors. This year, The Summer Nostos Festival, is adjusting to our new reality and moving online for a special RetroFuture Edition, June 21 to 28, 2020.