On Saturday, Aug. 13, Stories on Stage Davis will present two stories in the outdoor courtyard of the Pence Art Gallery. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the event starts at 7:30.
The short story “Playing Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain” by Jamil Jan Kochai will be read by first-time Stories on Stage Davis actor Brennan Villados. This fast-paced story is about Zoya, who loses himself in an open-world video game set in 1980 Afghanistan that starts to uncannily resemble his family’s compound, down to the characters. The stakes are raised as Zoya embarks on a rescue mission, hoping to change the past, blurring the boundaries between what’s real and what’s a game.
Kochai is the author of “99 Nights in Logar” (Viking, 2019), a finalist for the Pen/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel and the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. He was born in an Afghan refugee camp in Peshawar, Pakistan, but he originally hails from Logar, Afghanistan. His short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Ploughshares, The O. Henry Prize Stories and The Best American Short Stories 2021. He is a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. His second book “The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories ”(Viking, 2022) is out this summer.
Villados is a performer based out of Sacramento. His most recent acting credits include “The Picture of Dorian Gray” with Freefall Stage, “A Soldier’s Play with Celebration Arts” and “Marat/Sade” with Falcon’s Eye Theatre. Brennan made his directorial debut in 2019 with Romeo and Juliet for Freefall Stage’s Shakespeare in the park.
He attended The American Academy of Dramatic Art and has worked for the UC Davis School of Medicine Standardized Patient Program for the last six years. His other favorite roles include Mercutio in “Romeo and Juliet” with Falcon’s Eye Theatre, Patrick Stone in “Inventing Van Gogh” with Big Idea Theatre, Eddie in “Fool for Love,” and Tom in the one-man show “Poster of the Cosmos,” both for Blank Canvas Theatre. He is delighted to be a part of this production and looks forward to discovering new ways of connecting and storytelling in this unprecedented time.
An excerpt from the novel “The Stone Sister” by Caroline Patterson will be read by returning actor Kellie Raines. The book opens with 30-year-old Louise Gustafson, who leaves behind a life of boredom in Blue Earth, Minnesota, and picks up a temporary nursing job in a town called Stone City in Montana. Louise is a strong-willed woman capable of saying good-bye to all she knows and starting over, and the excerpt thrums with themes of renewal, hope, and longing.
Patterson is the author of “The Stone Sister,” winner of the Big Moose Prize from Black Lawrence Press. She published the collection Ballet at the Moose Lodge; a literary anthology Montana Women Writers: A Geography of the Heart; and two children’s books on the natural world. Her work has been included in anthologies including A Million Acres, Montana Noir, Bright Bones, and The New Montana Story.
A graduate of the University of Montana creative writing program in fiction, she was awarded the Wallace Stegner Fellowship in Fiction at Stanford University, the Joseph Henry Jackson Prize from the San Francisco Foundation, a Vogelstein Foundation Award, the Henfield Foundation, and the Montana Arts Council Fellowship. She was awarded residencies at Ucross, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and Ragdale (forthcoming). She is currently the executive director of the Missoula Writing Collaborative, which places writers to teach creative writing in more than 39 elementary schools in rural, urban, and reservation schools across western Montana.
She lives with her husband, writer Fred Haefele, in the Missoula home her great-grandfather built in 1906. Her two grown children visit on Sundays for dinner and laundry.
Raines is a local actor, director, writer, and visual artist. She has performed with and directed for local theatre companies, including KOLT Run Creations, Green Valley Theatre, Big Idea Theatre, Theater Galatea, and Resurrection Theatre. Her visual art has been shown locally at Archival Gallery in Sacramento. She has read her poetry for the Poetry in Davis series hosted by Dr. Andy Jones. She has a bachelor’s degree in Dramatic Art and a minor in English from the UC Davis. Raines can also be seen on-air for PBS KVIE, where she will have a mixed-media painting in the PBS KVIE Art Auction in early October.
Stories on Stage Davis is a sponsored project of YoloArts, a nonprofit arts organization. The event is free to attend, and Stories on Stage appreciates donations at the door. For more information, including previous podcast episodes and live events, go to the Stories on Stage Davis website: storiesonstagedavis.com.