ACTION FICTION!: original short fiction performed

[ Fri Apr 6 12 ]

Benjamin Wachs, Scott Lambridis and W. Ross Ayers hosted the second installment of Action Fiction! at Chez Poulet. Local actors perform original short fiction by local writers with the following idea:

Great writers are not always great performers. Great writing should be as passionate and engaging in public as it is on the page. Readings should feel like war and love happening in front of you, not a museum exhibit.

This was my first time at the show and, not knowing what to expect, I was somewhat surprised that no one was really acting. I mean… the stories were all great, but they were essentially just being read by other artists (though there was one that required two readers). Personally, I don’t care for proxy readings and would rather have someone blunder their own work than have somebody else try to capture their voice, but that’s just a personal preference. It’s hard for me to pay attention when I know you didn’t write what you’re reading me; so rarely does it come from the heart (even in most major theatrical productions I find this to be the case). Great work for me comes out of the voice of the writer, and if that doesn’t come through their reading then either their writing isn’t good enough or they need to learn how to read.

I agree wholeheartedly that readings “should feel like war and love happening in front of you”, and admit that the readings Friday night were all animated and in fact better than most fiction readings I witness. It is my hope that writers attending Action Fiction! take note and realize it doesn’t take a whole lot to add a whole lot to their readings. For this reason alone Action Fiction! is a great idea and something I encourage all my writer friends to experience.

I asked a couple of the authors at intermission if they felt compelled to revise parts of their story after having seen them interpreted by somebody else, and Olga Zilberbourg said she did want to take notes and revisit several things, whereas Ben Black said he felt “the characters were more fleshed out than even I thought they were”. So hopefully both of those reactions are positive and might inspire people to have their work performed (the hosts announced they don’t really have a formal procedure in terms of the show’s production but heartily welcome submissions and queries of all sorts).

Finally, this is a great event to attend with a date or a friend who might not necessarily be into your regular reading series because, on top of being more engaging than most, this show negates the authors’ egos to a greater degree than most, too, and that’s always one of the deterrents to going to a reading, right? You know I think it is.

Below is information on each of the readings:

  1. “We Are All Wearing Jackets” by Ben Black, read by Mark Plutanski
  2. “Dandelions” by Nona Caspers, read by Emma Shelton
  3. “What Would You Have Done?” by Gabriel L. Bellman, read by Robert Thomas
  4. “The Black Metal Barreled BB Gun” by W. Ross Ayers, read by Jimmey Cross
  5. “RE: Sugar” by Scott Lambridis, read by Caroline Scippa & Don Menn
  6. “The Monk’s Soul” by Benjamin Wachs, read by Devon Jones

Above is most of the show. I sadly wasn’t able to get vids of the first two stories, but you can read them in-full by clicking on the titles:

Click “Play” to watch all, “Next” to skip forward, or the small “Playlist” screen (to the right of the video time) to see thumbnails and watch them directly.

  • Read these stories at Fiction365, a new one every day
  • Keep track of Action Fiction! here