Wallace Shawn (from left), Larry Pine and Deborah Eisenberg make up the cast of <em>The Designated Mourner</em>. Written by Shawn and directed by Andre Gregory, the Public Theater show is a product of one of the longest collaborations in the history of the American theater.
Credit Joan Marcus / Courtesy The Public Theater
Wallace Shawn wrote the plays <em>The Designated Mourner</em> and <em>Grasses of a Thousand Colors.</em> He also co-wrote and co-starred in <em>My Dinner with Andre.</em>
Credit Reed Saxon / AP
Wallace Shawn (bottom) appeared alongside Mandy Patinkin and Andre the Giant (top) in the 1987 cult classic <em>The Princess Bride</em>.
Wallace Shawn is famous for his career as an actor, but over the past four decades he has written a handful of plays that are intellectually demanding and rarely produced. His characters tell stories in monologues, rather than acting them out onstage, and they use cascades of words to make dizzying arguments.
His work is being showcased at New York's Public Theater this season. A revival of The Designated Mourner opened July 21 and the American premier of another Shawn play, Grasses of a Thousand Colors, will open this fall.
It's been too long since we simply sat up and pointed out a few of the many new releases worth a set of ears. Luckily, the staff on weekends at All Things Considered thought the same. They invited me to sit down with host Jacki Lyden and play a few cuts for them.
Here's music from an elder statesman of piano, a trumpeter who understands creole music personally, a drummer who writes tunes with a payoff, and a singer in her early 20s with maturity and kick.
Jenni Fagan was born in Livingston, Scotland. Earlier this year, she was <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/04/15/177360576/grantas-best-of-young-british-novelists-shows-a-disunited-kingdom">recognized</a> on <em>Granta</em>'s Best of Young British Novelists issue.
During the 19th century, a panopticon was a prison or asylum with an all-seeing eye. Some of the C-shaped prisons with central watchtowers still stand in the U.S. and Europe.
Jenni Fagan's new book borrows the panopticon idea as the setting for a gritty, often poetic, novel. The story is based loosely on Fagan's own experience growing up in the Scottish foster care system for 16 years.
And as we mentioned earlier in the show, singer-songwriter J.J. Cale has died. If you're not familiar with his name, you've probably heard some of his music. He penned hits from the 1970s and '80s that were recorded by Eric Clapton, Lynyrd Skynyrd and many others. The success of those songs gave him the freedom to release his own albums for more than four decades. NPR's Dan Bobkoff has this remembrance.
More than 1,000 inmates, many convicted of serious crimes, have escaped from a prison in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi, the country's prime minister confirmed.
According to The Associated Press, it wasn't immediately clear if the jailbreak at Koyfiya prison was part of a larger series of protests taking place across the country on Saturday in response to the assassination on Friday of prominent political activist Abdelsalam al-Mosmary, who was an outspoken opponent of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Chef Albert Buitenhuis has been declared too fat to live in New Zealand, a country with one of the highest obesity rates in the developed world.
Immigration officials recently informed South African Buitenhuis that his work visa would not be renewed because, at 286 pounds, he falls short of what Wellington deems "an acceptable standard of health."
Lindy Boggs died Saturday morning. She was 97 years old, had served in Congress for close to 20 years and also as the U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, appointed by President Bill Clinton.
But those achievements, great as they are, do not begin to sum up the life and accomplishments of Lindy Boggs. As many of you know, she is part of our family at NPR: Her daughter is Cokie Roberts. And she has many friends here, as she does everywhere.
Sixty years after the armistice that ended hostilities in the Korean War, North Korea was celebrating 'Victory Day' with a show of military force that included goose-stepping soldiers, mobile missile launchers and armored columns.
Spain's Interior Minister, Jorge Fernandez Diaz, announced Saturday that the driver of a high-speed train that derailed this week, killing at about 80 people near the town Santiago de Compostela, has been detained on suspicion of negligent homicide.
Diaz said Francisco Jose Garzon Amo has been discharged from the hospital and taken to a police station, The Associated Press reports.
Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
A Florida gunman seized hostages and killed six people in an eight-hour standoff at an apartment complex that ended early Saturday when a SWAT team stormed the building and fatally shot the assailant.
The deadly incident occurred in Hialeah, a town just a few miles north of Miami. Police were quoted by The Associated Press as saying the bodies of three women and two men were found at the scene and that another man had been killed nearby. Two hostages were unharmed.