Press Release: Segal Theatre Hosts Reading and Reception for David Manning Novel

Segal Theatre Hosts Reading and Reception for David Manning Novel

On Friday, January 21, 4-6 pm, the Martin E. Segal Theatre will host a book party celebrating the publication of author David Manning's novel Dead Letters. A humorous, offbeat mystery, the book is the third of Mr. Manning's works to be published over the past year; others include a dystopian satire titled A Brief History of the Recent Future and Sylvia’s Violin: The Amber Eye, a young-adult fantasy. The free, public event will include readings from each of the three books, book sales, and an informal reception. The Segal Theater is located at the CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue at 34th Street. Discounted books can be purchased at the event, as well as at

Synopsis of each book:
A Brief History of the Recent Future: Published in fall of 2009, this dystopian novel was initially written in the mid 1970s with the idea of satirizing the present by forecasting the most bizarre imaginable future. The story traces the evolution of an apocalyptic conflict over a choice between “ganic” garbage vs. “ficial” garbage as civilization’s primary energy source. Resurrected from the past, the book remains, after 35 years, the harbinger of a future too ridiculous to contemplate yet more-and-more real every day.
Sylvia’s Violin: The Amber Eye: In this young-adult novel (written in 2000 and published in January 2010), a violin scholarship enables Sylvia Solo to attend an ultra exclusive Fifth Avenue private school. While fulfilling a class assignment in the Metropolitan Museum’s ancient Egyptian section, Sylvia finds herself trapped in Perneb’s tomb. Using hieroglyphics as musical notes, she is transported to Egypt’s Old Kingdom via her violin. Stuck 4,000 years in the past, she encounters a series of outrageous adventures, guided by her new friend Da’av and his cat Teekay.
Dead Letters: Over Labor Day 1989 (around when the book was written), Duncan Twist’s sleazy client, Nick Varnish, has loaned him a cottage overlooking the salt marshes of Dusktide Beach, a barrier island in southeast North Carolina. Just to the south lies the deserted Lorn Island. Tendency Specter, a former lover Duncan encounters, introduces him to Lorn Island’s Kindred Spirit. In turn, the Kindred Spirit introduces them to a host of elusive mysteries, which they explore together, along with their equally elusive, rekindling relationship.
Mr. Manning plans to publish three more works over the next year or so: a magic realism novel, The Count of Catalunya; a one-act play, Half Slave/Half Free; and a memoir, How to Live Like an Artist Even If You’re Not One. His fiction and non-fiction works have appeared in dozens of literary magazines and other publications, and his novella She Would Have Been a Tax-Dancer but He Couldn’t Hale a Cab was published by the Loom Press (Chapel Hill, NC) in 1974. He and his wife -- dancer/choreographer Suzanne White Manning -- co-directed the Synergic Theater from 1974 to 1994, applying a unique approach to movement, image, and sound media in their original productions and creative process workshops.
Among much other critical recognition of original Synergic Theater works, The New York Times’ chief dance critic Anna Kisselgoff called Lost “a brilliant integration of live dancers and shadowplay techniques. This breathtaking technical feat allowed visual and verbal metaphors to move pungently and effectively between the real and the imaginary, from personal experience to commentary on human behavior.” In a comment that is equally applicable to his literary style, she went on to say: “Mr. Manning is obviously not interested in neat conclusions; a layering of images makes his point.” San Francisco Chronicle theater critic Bernard Weiner said Ruins was “absolutely lovely and inventive” and compared the dialogue to “Robert Nathan’s clever book Digging the We’ens.” Bert Wechsler, in Attitude, said Lost was “an exquisitely conceived and faultlessly accomplished theatre work.”
The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center's primary focus is to bridge the gap between the academic and professional performing arts communities by providing an open environment for the development of educational, community-driven, and professional projects in the performing arts. As a result, MESTC is home to theatre scholars, students, playwrights, actors, dancers, directors, dramaturgs, and performing arts managers, as well as both the local and international theatre communities. The Center presents staged readings to further the development of new and classic plays, lecture series, televised seminars featuring professional and academic luminaries, and arts in education programs.

Submitted on: JAN 1, 2011

Category: Events | Martin E. Segal Theatre Center | Press Room