Paul Benedict returns to the Mesquite Fine Arts Gallery at 6 p.m., Wed., July 22, to read short stories by two of America’s classic wordsmiths, O. Henry and Dorothy Parker. Benedict draws on his knowledge and love of American classics in selecting stories for this performance. He entitles the program, “Shirtwaists and Sharp Tongues,” reflecting characterizations of Henry and Parker created through their works. This entertaining event is created by Paul Benedict and hosted by Virgin Valley Artists Association (VVAA), operator of the Gallery. Admission is free to the public, targeted to the teen and adult audience.
Benedict will be joined by Bunny Wiseman, who has appeared with him in productions staged by the Virgin Valley Theatre Group. Benedict will read aloud stories by O. Henry, and Wiseman will read from Dorothy Parker. Together they will perform two of Parker’s pieces in “reader’s theatre” technique, an efficient and effective way to present literature in dramatic form.
- Henry and Parker were prolific writers; Benedict and Wiseman will read selections that draw from the authors’ most entertaining and well-written stories that carry enduring memories and messages.
- Henry, pen name for William Sydney Porter (1862-1910), wrote hundreds of short stories that usually tell of incidents in the lives of ordinary people, often concluding with an ironic twist. Born in South Carolina during the Civil War, his own life was marked with tragedy and broad experiences that fed his creative self expression. Many of his works were published in collections, with the threads of the short stories intertwining to create a broader tale in the total. His stories are still among the most read and quoted of all American authors.
Dorothy Parker (1893-1967) was a writer and poet known for her wisecracks and stinging wit. She was a founding member of the writers group known as the Algonquin Roundtable, writing for the New Yorker , Vanity Fair and Vogue. Aptly, she spent part her early career as a New York theatre critic. In the 1930s, she wrote award-winning scripts for major movies. Her passions turned to human and civil rights, participating in efforts to support anti-Nazi activities in WWII Spain and black equality in the U.S. Those affiliations caused her to be blacklisted in Hollywood during the 1950s.
This live performance of written classics is presented as part of VVAA’s mission to promote the power of the arts in the community. VVAA aims to encourage enjoyment of reading and supports the “Mesquite Reads” program as a tool for building young people’s life skills. VVAA offers free art classes to for school-age children and provides other art opportunities and scholarships for students. VVAA’s art education program is funded in part by the Nevada Arts Council and NEA Art works, sale of original artwork at the Gallery, and generous local donors.
The Mesquite Fine Arts Gallery is located at 15 West Mesquite Blvd, Mesquite Nevada. Doors
open at 5:30pm for the July 22 event. Light refreshments will be served at intermission. For more information, please call 702-346-1338.