Guest host Kirsten Vangsness presents stories about the different shapes that loves takes. They show how “exquisitely OK it is to be ourselves,” she comments. In “Love and Hydrogen” Jim Shepard conjures up the breathtaking magic of travel by airship in his tale of doomed lovers aboard the Hindenburg. The story is performed by Sam Underwood. In Carys Davies’ “The Coat,” a neighbor consoles a wife whose husband has left her, and discovers a sorrow of her own. The performer is Becca Blackwell.
ACTORS & ARTISTS
Becca Blackwell is an NYC-based trans actor, performer, and writer. They have collaborated with Young Jean Lee, Half Straddle, Jennifer Miller’s Circus Amok, Richard Maxwell, Erin Markey, Sharon Hayes, Theatre of the Two-Headed Calf, and Lisa D'Amour, among others. Blackwell has recently appeared in Hurricane Diane at New York Theatre Workshop and Is This A Room at the Vineyard Theater. Their film and television credits include Jack in a Box, Shameless, Tour Without End, Deadman's Barstool, High Maintenance, and Marriage Story. Blackwell is a recipient of the Doris Duke Impact Artist Award and the creator of the solo show They, Themself and Schmerm.
Carys Davies is author of the novel West and two collections of short stories: Some New Ambush and The Redemption of Galen Pike, winner of the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize. Her works, fiction and nonfiction, have been featured in Granta, Ploughshares, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Dublin Review, and The Royal Society of Literature Review, among other publications. Davies has been honored with awards including the Royal Society of Literature's V.S. Pritchett Prize, the Society of Authors' Olive Cook Short Story Award, a Northern Writers’ Award, and a Cullman Fellowship.
Jim Shepard won the Rea Award for the Short Story in 2016. He has written seven novels and five short story collections, including Project X; Like You’d Understand, Anyway, winner of The Story Prize and a finalist for the National Book Award; The Book of Aron; and most recently, the short story collection The World to Come. His stories have been collected in TheBest American Short Stories, the PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, and the Pushcart Prize, and published in McSweeney’s, Granta, Harper’s, The Paris Review, and Ploughshares, among others. Shepard currently teaches at Williams College.
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.
Kirsten Vangsness is best known for her role as Penelope Garcia on the CBS drama Criminal Minds. She is the executive producer and star of the film noir spoof Kill Me, Deadly, which can be found on Hulu and iTunes. She was nominated for Playwright of the Year by LA Weekly and is a company member of Hollywood’s Theatre of NOTE. Vangsness regularly performs her critically acclaimed one-person show Mess—about quantum theory and monsters—around Los Angeles. Mess is one of two shows Vangsness brought to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in the summer of 2019; the other was Cleo, Theo & Wu. In her spare time she buses tables and washes dishes at the Blinking Owl Distillery in Santa Ana.