By: Angelina Coppola
The WordTheatre Release Party on Audible.com marked the launch of WordTheatre recordings from performances held in Los Angeles, New York, and London. Hosted by Bruce Vilanch at The Microsoft Lounge on Abbott Kinney, the evening included a superb ensemble of actors who read short fiction by renowned writers.
Founded in 2002 by Cedering Fox, the reading series brings together actors and writers from a variety of disciplines and genres—such as James Franco, Elisabeth Moss, Gary Cole, Jonathan Safran Foer, Amy Hempel, and Joyce Carol Oates—to celebrate the literary arts.
To Fox, WordTheatre is “…a triangle, an alchemy between author, actor, and audience. The author has exquisitely crafted a story, carefully choosing the words. The actor honors this work by bringing their talents to it and bringing the story to life. The audience is then engaged as an active participant listening, feeling, and experiencing the story in their own personal way.
At the release, Janet Fitch, author of Paint of It and White Oleander, described her experience of having her work read at WordTheatre. “It’s like hearing it for the first time,” she said. “A good actor embodies it.” Sarah Clarke (The Twilight Saga, 24) has previously read Fitch’s short story “The Method,” as anthologized in Los Angeles Noir. At the Audible.com release, Nicki Micheaux (Law & Order: LA, Six Feet Under) read Fitch’s short “The Beginner.”
Among other attendees were Gethin Anthony (Game of Thrones), who has previously read “Angry” by Joyce Carol Oates for WordTheatre; Xander Berkeley (24), who has read “Rastrow’s Island” by T.C Boyle, and Darrell Larson, who has been involved with WordTheatre since its inception. Larson recently adapted and directed Denis Johnson’s The Starlight on Idaho for WordTheatre, which was featured at the Los Angeles Central Library’s ALOUD series.
The evening’s performances included Nicki Micheaux reading “The Beginner” by Janet Fitch; Philip Baker Hall reading “Young Man on Sixth Avenue” by Mark Halliday; Maggie Siff reading “Confirmation Names” by Mariette Lippo; Jason Butler Harner reading “Flu” by Stuart Dybek; John Heard reading “In the Old Firehouse” by Ron Carlson; and Bruce Vilanch reading “For Beds” by Matthew Vollmer.