As part of its Southern Exposure Series, which features new and classic literature by Southern writers with Southern inspiration, Tennessee Shakespeare Company this spring returns to its popular Tuesday Literary Salons with the works of two form-breaking southern writers read in fun, intimate settings.
Each evening runs from 6:00-8:00 pm and features author-centric cocktails, tasty hors d'oeuvres (including cajun pork sliders, red beans & rice, and rumballs), thematic live music, and some of the best words ever written.
Kate Chopin: Louisiana Lullaby
featuring readings by Lorraine Cotten, Kim Justice, and Christina Wellford-Scott
The spirited drink: Bayou Cocktails
The live music: Robert Johnson and John Albertson with their Cajun strings
Tuesday, March 24 from 6:00-8:00 pm
Hosted by RS Antiques & Art in East Memphis (near the Half Shell)
700 S. Mendenhall, 38117
In his 1969 biography, Per Seyersted says Kate Chopin “broke new ground in American literature” in the 1890s.
“She was,” Seyersted writes, “the first woman writer in her country to accept passion as a legitimate subject for serious, outspoken fiction. Revolting against tradition and authority; with a daring which we can hardly fathom today; with an uncompromising honesty and no trace of sensationalism, she undertook to give the unsparing truth about woman’s submerged life. She was something of a pioneer in the amoral treatment of sexuality, of divorce, and of woman’s urge for an existential authenticity. She is in many respects a modern writer, particularly in her awareness of the complexities of truth and the complications of freedom.”
Ms. Chopin, posthumously acclaimed for her modern fiction not unlike Herman Melville who died un-famous, published two novels and 100 short stories. Her 1899 masterwork, The Awakening, is a landmark novel that brings maturity to thematic feminism and introduces a realism and psychology to the American literary form that would inspire the works of Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitgerald, and Tennessee Williams. However, at the time of publication, her novel was roundly criticized as “vulgar,” “disagreeable,” and “sordid.” Born in St. Louis and writing in the bayous of Louisiana (where she also placed many of her stories), Ms. Chopin found popularity in her professional life in the publication of her short stories in magazines: “The Storm,” “The Story of an Hour,” “A Pair of Silk Stockings,” and “A Respectable Woman” among them.
Passages from some of these works, and others, will be read during the Salon. Experience the poetic grace and unapologetic passion of the words of one of the South’s and our country’s most influential writers.
Young William Faulkner: Before the Fury
The spirited drink: Juleps
The live music: Beethoven, Bach, and Mozart played on piano by Steven DiBlasi
Tuesday, April 21 from 6:00-8:00 pm
Hosted by Melia and Drew Murphy, MD in their Germantown residence
Before the “Old Colonel” became a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and Nobel Prize in Literature winner, he was a high school and Ole Miss drop-out who worked odd jobs and trained as a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force as the first World War ended. But he was also a poet seeking his voice in New Orleans and in the outskirts of Paris. It wasn’t until he returned to his native north Mississippi that he began thinly fictionalizing in writing what and who he knew in his fabled Yoknapatawpha County (Oxford). His early creations, famously, include The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying. A man known both for this taste for and medicinal use of the bourbon julep, Mr. Faulkner would likely quite enjoy this Salon of sugared spirits and the readings of his earliest tales inspired by a land of quiet beauty and violently shifting cultures.
This season’s Literary Salons are sponsored by Nancy and Dan Copp and our friends at Prichard’s Distillery.
Tickets are $55 per event, or $100 for both. Your ticket buys you light appetizers (including cajun pork sliders, red beans & rice, and rumballs), cocktails, live music, and live readings of Southern literature beyond compare. Seating is extremely limited, and parking is free. Tickets are now on sale while they last.
To purchase tickets today, call the TSC Box Office at 901-759-0604 or go online: www.tnshakespeare.org.