Taping the Readers Choice show on Aloha Shorts

So…the Aloha Shorts producers revealed the results of the Readers Choice shows as selected by the listeners; stuff from Lee Cataluna, Eric Chock, Lois-Ann Yamanaka, Christy Passion, Nora Okja Keller, Cedric Yamanaka, and me. Cool, I thought. Then they figured why not ask the authors to read their own work. Ho, now the pressure was on! First of all, one of the guiding principles of Aloha Shorts is that the actors who read the selections come to the work with "fresh eyes" unfettered by notions of how a piece ought to be read. Then there’s the idea that radio is certainly different from reading to an audience (even though the tapings are before a live audience). The radio audience doesn’t get the benefit of seeing the performer, watching his/her expression or body language. It all has to be carried by voice alone. So suddenly I was paralyzed by the thought of reading "Beer Can Hat" in its entirety, 2 parts, for a total of 24 minutes. To make things worse, I was the last reader and had to sit through near perfect performances by all the others. The poets Eric, Lois-Ann, and Christy did an exceptional job, their readings emotional, passionate, and anguished.

I appreciate the producers for choosing to record the entire Beer Can Hat story (I usually read just Part I). I’m not used to reading the entire thing so i asked Sammie Choy, who directs many of the actors who appear on the show, for some advice and coaching. What she gave me was insight into the performance of literature and an uncanny knack for picking out key words and passages to emphasize. I’m not sure that I was able to implement all her suggestions but I think it helped me do a better job. Thanks Sammie.

So if you think you’d like to be a reader on Aloha Shorts, check out the Aloha Shorts section on this website to learn how to try out.

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