Writer Meghan Daum goes to DeSmet, South Dakota, where Laura Ingalls Wilder lived and where many of the books she wrote in the Little House on the Prairie series are set. It turns out to be remarkably similar to what Meghan had pictured before she went: The people seem like they are genuinely trying to hold on to the values Laura Ingalls Wilder writes about in her books.
The story of The Arabian Nights is actually 350 or 400 stories, depending on how you count them. Many of the stories are stories of impossible love, including the very last story in the whole epic tale—the story of Jasmine and Almond.
Viola disguises herself as a man, takes a job working for this guy with whom she promptly falls in love. He believes the pretense: He thinks Viola is a man, so he never gives her a second look.
Ron Copeland is a historical interpreter at the Conner Prairie Living History Museum, outside of Indianapolis. For several months a year, in his job, he pretends to be a slaveowner in the old south.
There's the pretending we do as individuals, and there's the organized pretending that happens in group therapy sessions, in the roleplaying games that are done in some clinical settings. Jack Hitt tells the story of the Mother of All Roleplaying Games.
Alix Spiegel travels with a group of white suburbanites as they pretend to be runaway slaves, at the Conner Prairie Living History Museum. Her goal: to find out what it is that people actually get out of this elaborate game of pretend.
Ira tells the story of Lucia Lopez, a former gang member who would beat you up if she caught you looking at her...and how her life changed when she put herself in a position where hundreds of people were looking at her.
David Cale's Lillian.
David Sedaris reads this story. A high-powered theater critic applies his critical skills to the Christmas pageants at local elementary schools.
Jack Hitt reports on one woman's opera about Chicken Little.
An excerpt from Heather Woodbury's epic eight-hour solo show WhatEver: An American Odyssey in Eight Acts.
We told Chicago playwright Jeff Dorchen about what the three boys in Act One said, and he created a brief original radio play picking up where they left off.
In 1940, Jack Geiger, at the age of fourteen, left his middle-class Jewish home and knocked on the door of a black actor named Canada Lee. He asked Lee if he could move in with him.
Writer Jack Hitt tells the story of a small town production of Peter Pan, in which the flying apparatus smacks the actors into the furniture, and Captain Hook's hook flies off his arm and hits an old woman in the stomach. By the end of the evening, firemen have arrived and all the normal boundaries between audience and actors have completely dissolved.
David Sedaris play, with Toby Wherry and Penelope Boyer.
An original radio drama called "Kathleen on the Carpet," in which animals talk and hold their own "animal court." It's a comedy by David Sedaris, starring our own radio theater company, the Pinetree Gang.
An interview with Vampire Girl.
Ira takes a Medieval scholar from the University of Chicago, Michael Camille, to Medieval Times — a chain of fake castles where visitors eat Medieval food and drink Medieval Pepsi and watch a supposed recreation of a Medieval jousting tournament. The scholar finds that there are many historical inaccuracies, but that Medieval Times does capture something essential and interesting about the spirit of the Middle Ages.
This American Life associate producer Peter Clowney visits a modern-day touring company of Hair. They don't just believe they're doing a job as professional actors. They're living as a modern-day tribe of hippies — with all the tensions of any communal living.
Chicago playwright Beau O'Reilly talks about how he reconciled with his estranged father years ago by becoming an alcoholic just like him.
As high-school freshmen, Kim, Tiffany, and Laura were enamored of their fellow students who netted the leads in all the school plays. They're seniors now, and they're the ones landing all the lead roles.
David Sedaris reads his story of getting the drama bug.
Host Ira Glass follows the last month of rehearsals of Oak Park and River Forest High School's production of Neil Simon's Lost In Yonkers.
David Sedaris continues his story.