Love, Laughter, and Vodka: A Night of Russian Fiction with Selected Shorts

Monday, July 16, 2018

Location Amphitheater

$30–50, Preferred Seating Available, gate pass or event ticket required

$30 General Admission

$50 Preferred 1
($20 for those who already have a gate pass for the day)

Purchase Tickets

The hit public radio series comes to the Amphitheater with an evening of hilarious, surreal, moving and romantic tales by some of the greatest Russian writers. This evening of Selected Shorts is a unique night of literature in performance, designed to showcase both the history and thriving presence of literary and performing arts at Chautauqua. Selected Shorts is produced by Symphony Space in New York City and broadcast on more than 150 stations around the country. The series began in 1985 and 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. While the Selected Shorts podcast consistently ranks as one of the most popular podcasts on iTunes with over 100,000 downloads every week, this is your chance to see it live in a place beloved by writers and actors alike.

Hosted by Jane Kaczmarek

Will-Power by Teffi

Translated by Natalia Wase

Performed by Sean Cullen

Romance with Double Bass by Anton Chekhov

Translated by Harvey Pitcher

Performed by Sean Cullen

Quadraturin by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky

Translated by Joanne Turnbull

Performed by Peter Francis James

Salad Olivier by Lara Vapnyar

Performed by Jane Kaczmarek


ABOUT THE ARTISTS (in alphabetical order)

Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) is regarded as both the greatest Russian storyteller and the father of modern drama. He wrote hundreds of short stories and several plays, including his masterpieces The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, and The Cherry Orchard. His works in both mediums have proved massively influential to modernist and realist movements in literature, and he is the namesake for the dramatic principle of “Chekhov’s gun.” Trained as a physician, Chekhov’s interest in social welfare led him to write the non-fiction volume Sakhalin Island, detailing conditions at a Russian penal colony, and he was well-known for his philanthropy, often treating the sick for no charge. Chekhov was awarded the Pushkin Prize in 1888 and remains one of the most iconic voices in literature. 

Sean Cullen appeared in the Oscar-nominated film Michael Clayton with George Clooney and Lincoln Center's Tony Award-winning revival of South Pacific with Kelli O'Hara, as well as The Sound of Music Live on NBC with Carrie Underwood.  His recent films include HBO's Paterno with Al Pacino and the forthcoming DeLorean with Alec Baldwin. His most recent TV credits include Bull, House of Cards, Suits, and The Blacklist. Additional Broadway credits include Golden Boy, Coram Boy, and James Joyce’s The Dead.  A native of Buffalo, Cullen is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University and the Yale School of Drama. This summer, he will appear at the Berkshire Theatre Festival in Robert Sherwood's classic, The Petrified Forest, directed by Pulitzer Prize-winner David Auburn.

Peter Francis James has appeared on Broadway in Present Laughter, The Merchant of Venice, On Golden Pond, Drowning Crow, and Judgment at Nuremberg. His Off-Broadway credits include Stuff Happens, for which he won the Obie, Lucille Lortel, and Drama Desk Award; Much Ado About Nothing and Venus at the Public Theater; The Maids (Obie Award) at Classic Stage Company; The Lady From Dubuque at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket; and Cymbeline with the Royal Shakespeare Company. His film and television work includes The Losers, Oz, The Rebound, Royal Pains, The Messenger, Gossip Girl, The Rosa Parks Story, Kings, Simple Justice, Law & Order, and The Humbling. He has narrated more than 60 audiobooks. 

Jane Kaczmarek is best known for her role as Lois on Malcolm in the Middle, for which she received 7 consecutive Emmy nominations, as well as nominations for the Golden Globe and SAG Awards. Her television career began on The Paper Chase, St. Elsewhere, and Hill Street Blues. In New York, Kaczmarek has appeared on Broadway and off at Manhattan Theatre Club, Second Stage, the Public Theatre, New York Theater Workshop, and the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Kaczmarek appeared in Long Day's Journey Into Night at the Geffen Playhouse with Alfred Molina, and most recently played the Stage Manager in Our Town with Deaf West Theatre. 

Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky (1887-1950) was a short story writer, self-described as “known for being unknown.” He wrote five novels, more than a hundred stories, and a dozen plays, screenplays, and librettos, but his work was first published posthumously in 1989. Five volumes of his body of work have subsequently been published in Russia. Krzhizhanovsky is now recognized as a brilliant voice in Russian and Soviet literature.

Teffi (1872 - 1952) was the pseudonym of Nadezhda Alexandrovna Lokhvitskaya, a Russian humorist. She was one of the best-known contributors to the literary journals Satiricon and Russkoye Slovo (Russian Word), and she also published poems, short stories, and one-act plays. She fled Russia following the October Revolution and continued writing in Paris. Her works have been posthumously translated into English and published in recent decades, most recently in the short story collections Subtly Worded and Tolstoy, Rasputin, Others, and Me: The Best of Teffi, and the memoir Memories: From Moscow to the Black Sea.

Lara Vapnyar is the author of the novels Memoirs of a Muse, The Scent of Pine, and Still Here, as well as the short story collections There Are Jews in My House and Broccoli and Other Tales of Food and Love. Her writing has been featured in The New York Times, Zoetrope, Harper’s, The New Republic, Vogue, Open City, and The New Yorker, among other publications, and her work has been honored with the Goldberg Prize for Jewish Fiction and the Guggenheim Fellowship. Vapnyar teaches creative writing at Columbia and NYU.