After publishing two successful novels, Peter Orner returns to short stories in his latest book, Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge. A tour de force of short story writing, Orner’s evocative and insightful new collection is packed with fifty stories—some only a page long—that deepen with every read. We have chosen two stories for November’s Stories on Stage Davis performance, “Denny Coughlin: In Memory” and “The Vac-Haul.” Some have called Peter Orner a writer’s writer, but we think you’ll agree that he is also a reader’s writer.
Peter Orner’s other books include Esther Stories, The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo, and Love and Shame and Love. Orner has received the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Goldberg Prize for Jewish Fiction, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and two Pushcart Prizes. He is a professor at San Francisco State University.
Phillip Larrea is an actor and writer. As an actor, he was a staple in Sacramento-area theater in the late seventies and early eighties, including multiple roles for Stagedoor Comedy Playhouse. Larrea moved to New York, where he worked regularly in Off-Off Broadway productions as well as regional theater, summer stock, and touring shows. Since 2012, his poems have appeared in over sixty journals, anthologies, and magazines in the U.S., Ireland, Canada, and Asia. He is the author of the poetry collections We the People (Cold River Press) and Our Patch (Writing Knights Press) and winner of the 2013 New Frontier Prize for poetry. Larrea’s unique contribution to poetry is his original short form, the “tricube,” which consists of three stanzas, three lines per stanza, and three syllables per line—i.e., three cubed.
Ruth Blank has been writing since high school. She recently retired after twenty-five years working for the cable television industry and eight years as the CEO of the Sacramento Region Community Foundation to finally start her novel, which is inspired by a story she published in Ploughshares. Stories on Stage Davis has chosen Ruth Blank’s short story “River Road” for the November performance. Published in The Huffington Post, “River Road” explores the unexpected intimacy that develops between a shopkeeper and a cook with a checkered past. The story takes place amid the chaos of an accident scene on a San Joaquin Delta bridge and is infused with descriptions of first responders, small-town gossip and the smell of ripening tomatoes.
Roberta Feldner Stuart graduated from The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, NYC, in 1959. Since then she has pursued an eclectic career in stage, nightclub, recording, television, and film as a working actress, singer, and voice over talent. Although semi-retired, Stuart maintains her status as a working member of The Screen Actors Guild and The American Federation of Television Artists (recently joined together and known as SAG-AFTRA). Over the years she has continued studies with many legendary teachers, including Milton Katselas, John Lehne, Dick Orkin, Patrick Frayley, Dee Marcus, and Ted Lott. She has taught theater and voice over technique privately and in a summer school setting for young performers in Manhattan Beach, California.
Stuart has appeared on stage Off Broadway in New York and Los Angeles productions, and in numerous television commercials and dramas. She appeared in Brian DePalma’s film The Fury and in many made-for-television films popular in the 1980s. She has recorded books for Books on Tape and spent many years volunteering for Recording for the Blind.
While living and working in Los Angeles, Stuart produced, directed and hosted the talk show All About Real Estate on KIEV 870 AM, marrying her broadcasting talents to her second career as a California realtor which, after twenty-four years, she continues to enjoy as an associate with Lyon Real Estate here in Davis.
No, she has never had a face lift, but she does color her hair!