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Staged Readings of work by four authors:WORDS AT NIGHT

November 6, 2003
Contact: Press & Media Relations Coordinator (703-993-8794)

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Words at Night: Stories from Life
Excerpts of four new works of literature, focusing on various aspects of domestic life,
read by professional actors
Nov. 21 & 22, 2003 (Friday and Saturday) at 8:00pm in TheaterSpace

Fairfax, Virginia, October 31, 2003—Words at Night: Stories from Life is, "literature straight up – excerpts from novels and stories by four distinguished American writers, brought to life in readings that let the words shine," says Theater of the First Amendment’s artistic director, Rick Davis. The staged reading features vignettes drawn from the works of four of the fiction world’s highly praised authors, Richard Bausch, Alan Cheuse, Steven Goodwin, and Susan Shreve. Davis directs Words at Night, mixing monologue with traditional theatrical presentation, character point-of-view and audio book style, creating a unique evening of theater that captures all the nuance and emotions inherent in great storytelling. At press time the production had not yet been cast. Presented for two nights only, November 21 and 22, at 8PM, professional actors from the metro D.C. area perform Words at Night in TheaterSpace, the Center for the Arts’s flexible space on the ground floor of Mason’s performing arts building.

The project, Davis says, evolved over time, "George Mason has assembled one of the top creative writing programs in the country, and for several years, the novelist and NPR critic Alan Cheuse and I have been discussing how we might bring some of these wonderful writers to the public in a different kind of setting."

Richard Bausch is the author of eight novels and five story collections, published to wide critic acclaim. Bausch’s most recent novels include Hello to the Cannibals, In the Night Season, and Good Evening Mr. and Mrs. America and All the Ships at Sea, and his stories have appeared in such magazines the Atlantic, the New Yorker, Esquire and Harper’s and have been selected for the annual "O. Henry Prize Stories" and "Best American Short Stories" collections. His new collection, The Stories of Richard Bausch has just been published.

"The Voice of Books on National Public Radio"—that’s how novelist, essayist and storywriter Alan Cheuse has been described. For over twenty years, Cheuse has been "reading for America" every week on NPR, and writing a number of books of his own. He is the author of The Grandmothers’ Club which Library Journal hailed, saying it used "language that is earthy, lyrical and never false."
Other works include The Light Possessed, three collections of short stories, a memoir (Fall Out of Heaven), and his most recent book, a collection of essays titled Listening to the Page: Adventures in Reading and Writing. He has taught fiction and nonfiction writing—and literature—at several distinguished institutions, and since 1987 he has been a member of George Mason University’s writing faculty in Fairfax, Virginia.

Stephen Goodwin is the author of three novels: Kin, The Blood of Paradise, and Breaking Her Fall. His short stories have appeared in GQ, The Sewanee Review, and Shenandoah. He has also written essays magazines, and has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. He has been a member of the writing faculty at George Mason University since 1979, with the exception of two years when he served as Director of the Literature Program at the NEA. A co-founder of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation, Goodwin has served two terms as its president.

Susan Richards Shreve is the author of twelve novels and numerous books for children. She is also the mother of four grown children. She has taught writing at George Washington University, Bennington College, Princeton and Columbia, and is the founder of the MFA program in creative writing at George Mason University, where she continues to teach. She has been the recipient of the John Simon Guggenheim Award and a National Endowment for the Arts Award in Fiction, among other honors. She is the current president of the P.E.N. / Faulkner Foundation. Her latest novel is Plum & Jaggers.

Featured selections:

Voices from the Other Room, by Richard Bausch. A brief dialogue of two lovers in afterglow…or perhaps nuclear fallout. A story of love, need and betrayal from the newly published collection The Stories of Richard Bausch. Library Journal has called his previous anthologies "stunning" and "chilling and believable dramas."

Days Given Over to Travel by Alan Cheuse describes the final days of the author’s mother and her memories of growing up in the Jewish neighborhoods of Perth Amboy. A monologue told in her voice, recently published in the literary magazine, Prairie Schooner.

Breaking Her Fall by Steve Goodwin. A crisis or a cry for help? Portraits of women loved and lost-- ex-wife, daughter, and girlfriend. Tucker faces a day of reckoning the morning after his 14 year-old daughter is involved in an incident he can barely bring himself to discuss. Presented in audio book style through Tucker’s point of view. "Goodwin (Kin; The Blood of Paradise) pulls the reader into the soul of this deeply thoughtful father" (Library Journal).

Plum and Jaggers by Susan Shreve. Sam, the eldest of four siblings, lost his parents in a tragic train wreck at the age of seven. But they live on in his imagination as Plum & Jaggers, providing inspiration for his darkly comic revues. As he grows to manhood, his writing increasingly features a family of children, forever in exile, turned inside out. Presented in the style of reader’s theater, this story spans 25 years.

Tickets for WORDS AT NIGHT: STORIES FROM LIFE are $10-adults,
$7-students/seniors. Charge by phone at 703-218-6500 or visit The Center for the Arts complex is located on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University at the intersection of Braddock Road and Route 123. Paid parking is located in the deck adjacent to the mainstage Concert Hall and FREE parking is located in university lot K. Visit

Theater of the First Amendment was founded in 1990 as the resident professional theater for George Mason University. Its mission is to discover, develop, and produce theatrical works of high distinction for the diverse communities of the Northern Virginia area. The company embraces the philosophy of showcasing new works and explorations of rarely seen classics as well as local artists of the highest caliber.

GREAT PERFORMANCES AT MASON is a program of George Mason University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. The College of Visual and Performing Arts exists to create an academic environment in which the arts may be considered both as individual disciplines and as interdisciplinary forms that strengthen each other. Believing that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the College draws on a variety of professional presenting and producing units where artists from across the country and around the world regularly perform, give master classes, work with students during extended residencies, and interact with the community in a variety of other ways. These programs at the Center for the Arts Concert Hall, TheaterSpace, Galleries, Harris Theater, and other venues, provide a diverse selection of challenging and entertaining cultural experiences for the University community, as well as Northern Virginia and the greater Washington, D.C. area. The College houses four academic departments: Art and Visual Technology, Dance, Music and Theater.