While Tania Martin Was Sleeping

“Humanity’s lease on the planet may soon be up,” writes the narrator of Tania Martin’s “While You Were Sleeping,” who envisions bear attacks, drive-by proselytizing and the inevitable downfall of humankind while her partner lays sleeping. Something in this piece’s macabre yet realistic tone felt very 2019 to us—it is at once self-effacing and full of anxiety, yet conscious of the beauty still left in our world. We’re looking forward to performing Tania’s piece at our Beyond Boundaries show at the San Jose Museum of Art on Jan. 12.

Tania is a writer from San Jose. She is currently working on her first novel, which she hopes to complete in 2020. She is co-founder of The Flash Fiction Forum, a literary reading series focusing on short works. She is also an assistant editor at Narrative Magazine. Tania enjoys teaching art to middle school students and cycling around the bay area on her road bike. She earned a BS in Geology from UC Davis and loves the outdoors. 

tania_marting
Tania Martin

What are you working on these days?

Flash Fiction Forum will have its next reading series on January 8th at Works Gallery 365 S Market St, San Jose. For more information visit our website.

What inspired you to participate in Play On Words?

I’m a big fan of Play On Words. I love the collaborative energy they bring to San Jose’s literary scene. It’s magical to hear your words preformed by such talented actors.

 Which writers or performers inspire you?

I’m a big fan of Louise Erdrich, Jhumpa Lahiri, Annie Proulx, Denis Johnson, and Zadie Smith to name a few; the poetry of Seamus Heaney and Elizabeth Bishop; and re-reading the classics: especially Tolstoy, Austin, and the Bronte sisters. I’m currently reading Olga Tokarczuk’s Flights, which is a gorgeous book about travel and discovery.

 Name a book or performance that fundamentally affected you.

One of my fondest memories is my father reading The Hobbit aloud to me when I was a child. J.R.R. Tolkien’s world building captured my imagination and I looked forward to hearing the next chapter all day. I saw how it was possible to carry entire other worlds around with you in your head. 

Want to see us perform Tania’s work aloud? Get your tickets now for our January 12 show at the San Jose Museum of Art. Entrance includes free admission to the museum.

Arcadia Conrad reads work by Tania Martin

Rites of passage can occur at any age. Just ask the narrator of Tania Martin‘s “Rites of Passage,” who is learning to ride a motorcycle alongside a gang of young men. Here is the amazing Arcadia Conrad performing Tania’s story on April 11th at Cafe Stritch:

Big thanks to Arcadia to loaning us her voice, and to Tania, co-founder of San Jose’s Flash Fiction Forum  for sharing this wonderful story with us. Fans of FFF should consider submitting for their next season, starting this fall.

Tania Martin’s “Rites of Passage”

Tania Martin

Just what is a rite of passage–and what does it represent? The lovely Arcadia Conrad performed Tania Martin’s short piece, “Rites of Passage,” last week at Play On Words: New Horizons. We have previously performed Tania’s “Suck it Up” and “The Pink Suitcase”, and were thrilled to read more work by her.

Tania Martin
Tania Martin

 Tania writes fiction in San Jose. When she’s not teaching art to middle school students, or working on her first novel, she enjoys cycling around the Bay Area on her Bianchi road bike. She is co-founder of Flash Fiction Forum, a literary reading series focusing on short works since 2013, and she is an assistant editor for Narrative Magazine. She earned a BS in geology from UC Davis and loves hiking in the Sierra Nevadas. Her work has appeared in Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Flash Flood’s online anthology, and in the collection, (After) Life, Poems and Stories of the Dead, Purple Passion Press (2015).

What inspired you to participate in Play On Words?
I love the way Play On Words combines the imaginings of both writer and actor to bring a new element to the work. And as a writer, it’s interesting to see my words interpreted by someone else. It’s like I have baked a delicious cake, and then handed it off to a talented cake decorator.

Which writers or performers inspire you?
I recently listened to the audio book, Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders, and loved it so much I bought the hardcopy and read the book too. I’m a fan of Louise Erdrich, Annie Proulx, Denis Johnson, and Zadie Smith to name a few; the poetry of Seamus Heaney and Elizabeth Bishop; and re-reading the classics: especially Tolstoy, Austin, and the Bronte sisters. I have wonderful memories of my dad reading The Hobbit to me when I young.

Name a book or performance that fundamentally affected you.
My parents always left lots of books around the house, and didn’t notice me reading the Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby when I was 12, and for awhile I was terrified of being possessed by evil spirits. But now I’m fascinated by superstition and mythology, and often write superstitious characters into my stories.

Couldn’t join us last week? Stay tuned for video from the show in the coming weeks. In the meantime, check out Branden Frederick’s photos from our show on our Facebook page. 

Our New Horizons

On Monday night we gathered to rehearse for tonight’s show and the air crackled with electricity. Each story, poem and piece is dynamite, and our seasoned cast is more than ready to light up the stage at Cafe Stritch. Play On Words has existed for five years, and in that time we’ve gotten to meet so many amazing artists, writers, performers and patrons of the arts. Every show is special and every show is different. Tonight we bring Play On Words: New Horizons to life.

29790535_1241367555997066_1930253660190529930_nJoin us at 7 pm to witness amazing performers read work by the following fabulous writers:

1) “Teacher of the Year” by Arcadia Conrad

performed by Melinda Marks

2) “The Boy in the Van” by Marilyn Horn-Fahey
performed by Arcadia Conrad
3) “Dear Espanol” by Anjela Villareal Ratliff
performed by Ivette Deltoro
4)  “Bearded Lady” by Allison Landa
performed by Laurel Brittan
5) “Pence” by Michelle Myers
performed by Michael Weiland
6) “Receiptless” by Dallas Woodburn
performed by Jeremy Ryan
7)” Bleeding Heart” by Christina Shon
performed by Laurel Brittan
8) “Rite of Passage” by Tania Martin
performed by Arcadia Conrad
10 MIN BREAK
9) “Your Superpower” by Ann Hillesland
performed by Ivette Deltoro
10) “Construction” by Jon Ford
performed by Adam Weinstein
11) “Sister Fowl” by Maria Judnick
performed by Ivette Deltoro
12) “Toilet Paper Glove” by Valerie Fioravanti
performed by Melinda Marks
13) “Birthday” by Valerie Castro Singer
performed by Laurel Brittan
14) “Fisherman and the Cloak” by Charlene Logan Burnett
performed by Ron Feichtmeir
15) “Journalissimo” by Griffin Lamachy
performed by Michael Weiland
New Horizons will also feature live drawing by Michelle Frey (Instagram/boule_miche and @michellange on Twitter) and Clifton Gold of Luna Park Arts. Michelle teaches weekly live drawing classes at the School of Visual PhilosophySpecial thanks to our photographer Branden Frederick and videographer Ryan Alpers.

Activists Unite on January 17

It’s January 2018, which means that after a year of catastrophic fires, hurricanes, fake news and even scarier real news, we are still here. No matter who you are or where you live, you must have felt 2017’s ripple effects. Remember the travel ban? The attempt to exclude transgender soldiers from the military? What about the 800,000 Dreamers whose American likelihoods still hang in balance?

After the conclusion of the 2016 presidential election, we at Play On Words resolved to use what we have to amplify the voices of our community. We wanted to find a way to give people space to express what they were feeling, to share their experiences, to offer perspectives on what it means to be an activist. That’s why, when the kind folks of San Jose’s Flash Fiction Forum communicated a similar desire, we decided to partner with them to create a chapbook. Together with FFF co-creators Lita Kurth and Tania Martin, writer and professor Maria Judnick, and graphic designer, artist and writer Peter Caravalho, we agreed that this is our way of channeling all this–feeling–into something productive. And that is how the Activate, our activist chapbook, began.

We spent a few months reviewing submissions and brainstorming the best ways to make our vision come to life. POW and FFF fans will soon have the opportunity to purchase Activate at upcoming shows–more on that to come. But first, know this: This book is a labor of love, a volunteer effort to create something that we feel represents a cross-section of the stories that haven’t yet made the headlines–stories we believe portray the complexity of our time.

As part of this project, Play On Words is producing its first truly themed show on Wednesday, January 17, at San Jose’s Cafe Stritch. Join us at 7 pm to hear selections chosen from the chapbook. We will be rolling out more information about our first show of the year, including bios of featured writers, over the next few weeks.

If you need a POW fix before then, don’t forget to check out the POWer Half Hour on Soundcloud and iTunes! Ryan has produced seven great episodes so far, with a few more to come.

 

Flash Fiction Forum’s Literary Pub Crawl

Join us this Sunday for San Jose’s first ever Literary Pub Crawl, organized by Tania Martin and Lita Kurth, the masterminds behind SJ’s Flash Fiction Forum, as well as past participants in POW shows.

There are four main stages of the event, all located in San Jose’s SOFA district:

We hope to see you there.

Drumroll Please…Tomorrow’s Lineup!

It’s nearly time to take flight. We had our rehearsal on Saturday night and we are pumped to perform tomorrow at Cafe Stritch. Our playbills will be printed tomorrow–and in one last effort to spread the word, we’re sharing the full lineup for Play On Words: Take Flight here:

ACT ONE

  1. “Pink Suitcase,” by Tania Martin, read by Gray Performs
  2. “Van Tribe: The River” and “Dudley and Lisa,” by Rick Alpers, read by Michael Weiland
  3. “Bees,” by Betsy Miller, read by Adam Magill
  4. “Van Tribe: Pumpkin,” by Rick Alpers, read by Tiffany Edwards
  5. “Bride,” by Lita Kurth, read by Melinda Marks
  6. “Van Tribe: Miracle Ticket,” by Rick Alpers, read by Michael Weiland
  7. “Sirs Parchment” and “I Ride on the Bus Out to the Suburbs in the Searing Heat,” by Gary Singh, read by Ryan Alpers
  8. “Stage Kiss,” by Mara Sherman, read by Laurel Brittan, Gray Performs, and Ryan Alpers

    ACT TWO

  9. “Suburban Fantasy,” by Renée Schell, read by Adam Magill
  10. “Hot Turkish Man For You,” by Valerie Fioravanti, read by Melinda Marks
  11. “Red,” by Melinda Marks, read by Arcadia Conrad
  12. “Swimming Lessons,” by Pratibha Kelapure, read by Laurel Brittan
  13. “Scars,” by Andrew Christian, read by Ryan Alpers
  14. “Cardio Tai Chi,” by Sarah Lyn Rogers, read by Tiffany Edwards
  15. “Audition,” by Brian Van Winkle, read by Michael Weiland, Melinda Marks, Brian Van Winkle, Adam Magill, and Julia Halprin Jackson

As we gear up for the big show, we’d also like to extend our gratitude, once again, to The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the San Jose Downtown Association, as well as Steve and Max Borkenhagen of Cafe Stritch, whose support and guidance helped make this show possible.

San Jose Downtown Association
San Jose Downtown Association