Short stories by acclaimed Maine writers Monica Wood and Morgan Talty are coming to the stage! Midcoast Literacy, a non-profit organization that provides free literacy tutoring to people of all ages, is partnering with Chocolate Church Arts Center in Bath to present a live Readers Theater production on Friday, Oct. 22, at 7 p.m. The event will feature local, professional actors performing short stories by Maine authors: “Food for the Common Cold” by Morgan Talty and “Shuffle, Step” by Monica Wood. A book signing and chance to meet the authors will follow the performance. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased from the Chocolate Church box office or www.chocolatechurcharts.org
“We’re thrilled to be presenting short stories by these two award-winning authors at our first Readers Theater performance for adult readers,” said Don Lader, Midcoast Literacy’s executive director. “And by partnering with Chocolate Church, another Midcoast nonprofit, audiences will get to experience the actors performing the books live in a spacious, local theater.”
Readers Theater is a style of performance that blends the reading aloud of a book with theatrical elements before a live audience. The cast of actors simultaneously narrates the story and brings added life to the characters through voice, expression, and movement. In “Food for the Common Cold” by Morgan Talty, a native boy in Eastern Maine uncovers the losses of the past that keep resurfacing in his family’s present. In “Shuffle, Step” by Monica Wood, a widower unexpectedly finds himself taking dance lessons with his 13-year-old neighbor after he wins a free class in a raffle.
Future performances in the Midcoast Literacy’s Readers Theater series will include both productions of children’s books for a younger audience and other short story productions for adults. Proceeds from the October 22 event will support Midcoast Literacy’s tutoring and literacy programs that serve people of all ages in Lincoln, Sagadahoc, and northern Cumberland Counties. To find out more about getting help with literacy skills or to become a volunteer, go to: www.midcoastliteracy.org
Morgan Talty is a citizen of the Penobscot Indian Nation where he grew up. He received his BA in Native American Studies from Dartmouth College and his MFA in fiction from Stonecoast’s low-residency program. He is a 2021 Maine Literary Award winner, was named one of Narrative’s “30 Below 30,” and his story collection Night of the Living Rez is forthcoming from Tin House Books (2022). His work has appeared in The Georgia Review, Shenandoah, TriQuarterly, Narrative Magazine, LitHub, and elsewhere. A Lit Event Fellow for Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance, Talty is a writing consultant and a college instructor who teaches courses in both English and Native American Studies.
Monica Wood is a novelist, memoirist, and playwright; the 2019 recipient of the Maine Humanities Council Carlson Prize for contributions to the public humanities; and a recipient of the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance Distinguished Achievement Award for contributions to the literary arts. Her most recent novel, The One-in-a-Million Boy, has been translated into 20 languages in over 30 countries. She is also the author of When We Were the Kennedys, a New England bestseller, Oprah magazine summer-reading pick, and winner of the May Sarton Memoir Award and the Maine Literary Award. Her widely anthologized short stories have won a Pushcart Prize and been featured on public radio.