One of Atlanta’s most prolific and acclaimed playwrights, Topher Payne, is leaping into new territory with his newest work, Funny Story: The Incomplete Works of Topher Payne, an audio collection of selected humor essays from Payne’s GA Voice column, Domestically Disturbed, his short fiction, and scenes from his plays. The tales are at times touching, at times hilariously irreverent, and at times bemusingly inappropriate.
2014 has been a huge year for Payne, including the Atlanta premiere of his play, Perfect Arrangement, with Process Theatre in Decatur. Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre announced it will be presenting a production of his play Angry Fags. He’s been seen on stage and this week sees the publication of his first audiobook, Funny Story: The Incomplete Works of Topher Payne. The audio includes performances by the author and a cast of professional Atlanta actors, including Amanda Cucher, Johnny Drago, Jo Howarth, Kristin Kalbli, Shelly McCook, Nicholas Tecosky, and Jacob York.
Funny Story was created specifically to be heard, not read. From its conception, its goal is to create a different listening experience than that of a traditional written work simply recorded into audiobook format.
With this new project, Payne capitalizes on the storytelling experience made possible by the audiobooks and the growing popularity of personal audio. As audiobooks have become more portable and accessible, sales have seen a significant boost. “When books on tape were first introduced, people weren’t going to take a walk around town with their Walkman and their six-tape set to listen to an audiobook,” Payne says. “Now, though, it’s simple to put an audiobook on your phone or your iPod.”
The advantage of Funny Story is its brevity. Unlike many audiobooks, it does not require a large time commitment. “The thing about Funny Story is that these are all short stories,” says Payne, “You don’t need to take a seven hour road trip to enjoy it. These stories will take you to the grocery store or through your morning commute.”
Funny Story includes some scenes from Payne’s plays, including one from his award-winning dark comedy, Angry Fags, which premiered in 2013 on Atlanta’s 7 Stages. It also includes stand-alone short stories such as “The Groom’s Cake”, a pathologically passive-aggressive narrative from a southern mother-of-the-groom, and “Ghost Baby”, which outlines the pitfalls of keeping someone’s memory alive a little too long.
Funny Story is available September 15 from ListenUp Audiobooks, studio and audiobook publisher located in East Atlanta.
About ListenUp Audiobooks
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