Do you remember, no, not September, but, January 2020—the beginning of what would prove to be a terrifying year in so many ways, one filled with fear, suffering, loss and sorrow, locally and around the world.
For Stories on Stage Sacramento, January 31 was the first show of the new season with a beyond sold-out house for Pam Houston and her memoir Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country, with Dorothy Rice (Gray is the New Black), and memorable performances from Caro Marks and SOSS regular Gay Cooper. Little did we know it would be our last live performance for two years.
Pam Houston also led an amazing generative workshop the morning following the performance to a grateful group of writers who gathered at the Clara. That evening and morning feel like a long, long time ago.
After cancelling our planned programming for March (and, as it would turn out, the remainder of 2020 and 2021), co-directors Shelley Blanton-Stroud and Dorothy Rice pivoted to Zoom and returned with the inimitable Tod Goldberg and a short story from his collection Other Resort Cities performed by David Campfield. Anita Felicelli's novel Chimerica was also featured in April, with actor Kat Miller.
July 17, 18 and 19 were like a mini online writers conference with three days of the dynamic duo of Sands Hall and Debra Gwartney, featuring their memoirs Reclaiming my Decade Lost in Scientology and I Am a Stranger Here Myself, performed on the first two days by Kellie Ogden and Kellie Raines, respectively, followed by a writing workshop on the third day led by both authors.
Now we can ask, do you remember ... in September we featured Erika Mailman and The Murderer's Maid, performed by Nicole Berry. The following morning Erika returned to teach an eager group of writers all about what it takes to write historical fiction.
And in October, thanks to Shelley engaging with Gabino Iglesias on Twitter, he agreed to both share his novel Coyote Songs with us (performed by Andrea Guidry), and to return the next morning to teach a class on Writing the Other.
Backing up to June, SOSS featured interviews with local authors Bill Pieper and Anne DaVigo and the book launch for Shelley Blanton-Stroud's Copy Boy.
SOSS season finale brought five stories from the TWENTY TWENTY anthology - 43 Stories From a Year Like no Other, from local authors Diane Kallas, Maia Evrigenis, Elison Alcovendaz, Deborah Pittman, and Kevin Sharp, performed by Brennan Villados and Atim Utoffia. Copies of the anthology are available from Capital Books, at SOSS events, or from your favorite bookseller (all proceeds support SOSS programming).
Whew! That was the first season for new co-directors Shelley Blanton-Stroud and Dorothy Rice, a season that got off to a rocky start, followed by a quick pivot to all online programming, a season that provided access to 16 authors, 10 actors and 4 author-led workshops.
You can purchase or order these authors' books at Capital Books in Sacramento, at your local independent book store or at bookshop.org.
Check the SOSS youtube channel and website for recordings of these and other SOSS performances.