Raised by Wolff

The stories of Tobias Wolff are like a good YouTube short, offering snapshot scenarios that suggest worlds about the characters that inhabit them. We can be grateful that local theater ensemble Word for Word got the idea first to dramatize his wit-fringed world of moral dilemmas. Known for its clever but textually consistent adaptations of fiction for the stage, the group broke all its own box office records six years ago with its Stories by Tobias Wolff. This makes the Stanford-based memoirist and fiction writer a fitting author of choice for the company’s 15th anniversary season. More Stories by Tobias Wolff takes on three tales from recently published collection Our Story Begins, including the sad-but-funny “Sanity” and the lust-laden “Down to Bone.” The former follows the awkward journey of a teenager and her stepmother to visit her father in a mental hospital; the latter, a man waiting for his mother to die who visits a funeral parlor and imagines a quickie with the woman who runs it. Wolff himself, who will join audiences for a post-show discussion next Saturday, has declared himself among the production’s biggest fans. “I wish Word for Word would do all my stories,” he says. You can’t ask for a better endorsement than that.
Wednesdays-Sundays, 8 p.m. Starts: Sept. 10. Continues through Oct. 5, 2008

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