‘An Actor Prepares’ by Donald Antrim

Reginald Barry, a professor of speech and drama at a liberal arts college, is rehearsing a production of Midsummer Night’s Dream. He is pompous and self-serving, though also self-aware, and the story displays the seductive machinations he enacts in directing the play under the guise of its historical authenticity. This is a very funny, carnivalesque exploration of performance, of sincerity, and of rationalization.

In The Emerald Light in the Air, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Granta, 2014