Speaking of Stories Gets Romantic

Tales of Romance at the Lobero, Tuesday, February 13

tc-boyle1.jpgWe never get tired of having stories read to us, particularly in the evening, reminding us of bedtime narratives. After all, Scheherazade is said to have bargained for her life with a tale well told. For Valentine’s Day, the popular Santa Barbara institution Speaking of Stories artfully engaged love for their evening theme Tales of Romance. The Lobero was packed with couples, on the eve of Valentine’s, and there was an aura of romance in the air. As each actor, reader, writer took to the podium, and the hush fell over the room, we were enthralled, enchanted, delighted. It was a selection not necessarily of sappy tales, or hushed erotic journeys, but romance that was poignant, thought-provoking, evocative, real. Moments throughout called for a handkerchief, a hand to hold, and sometimes, a collective giggle or guffaw.

T.C. Boyle ended the evening, his periodic presence on the Speaking of Stories stage never fails to enliven. Predictably eclectic, he is an unsurprising master at reading his own work aloud, providing the proper inflections and scattered irony for Hope Rises. In Hope, we were treated to the tale of an unlikely frog enthusiast, and where one will take the train for love. Faline England, glorious on stage, and familiar to many Santa Barbara theater-goers in a number of roles, FalineEngland.JPGbrought Isabelle Allende’s Two Words to life. Allende is one of my favorite writers, for her imagery, her nod to the fantastic, her firm grasp of the foibles of humanity. Two Words did not disappoint. John Fink gave a poignant reading of Richard Bausch’s Letter to the Lady of the House. The letter than began with one sentiment, rambled in another direction, leaving the audience to reflect on a lifetime of love and all its permutations. This was where I wanted a handkerchief. Dan Gunther, another expert reader, provided a compelling read of prolific author Russell Banks’ tender and moving The Moor.

Speaking of Stories selects a different theme each month, appropriate to the season, allowing us to daydream. I have to admit, Stories is one of my favorite performing arts events in town. At face value, it wouldn’t seem so interesting, being read a story. But there’s something about it that is enticing, magical, even. March’s line-up features baseball, with stories by John Updike and Chet Williamson, among others, read by another group of skilled actors including Irwin Appel and Tom Hinshaw. April’s selections are culled from The New Yorker. Enough said. And in May, well, appropriate for the embedded holiday, Stories will be Speaking of Dad. If your curiosity is piqued, visit; tickets are available at the Lobero.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Plastic Bags? Throw ‘Em Away

Santa Barbara County makes recycling rules tougher in face of exacting standards.

UCSB Ranked Number Three in UC System

Cal and UCLA took the one and two spots.

Pini Property Fights Continue

As an epic attorney battle continues in the Dario Pini receivership, a tenant is getting fed up.

MTD Takes Stand Against Prop. 6

The bus company is concerned about the state funding it relies upon.

County Half-Jokes It Wants Cannabis ‘World Domination’

A government executive implores growers to get legal before time runs out.