Speaking of Stories will conclude its 2010 season May 9-10 with performances of an eclectic group of stories, including one by award-winning author and Santa Barbara resident T.C. Boyle, who will make a special appearance on May 10 to read from his newest story collection, Wild Child.

“Celebration of Stories” also will feature the return of Bradford and Pamela Dillman, the Speaking of Stories debut of veteran actor David Selby, and on Sunday, Charles de L’Arbre reading another new story by Boyle.

Aside from being an award-winning writer, Boyle is a masterful reader and audience favorite. He has received acclaim for his novels, and his short stories appear regularly in a variety of magazines including The New Yorker and The Atlantic.

He will be reading his story The Lie from his newest story collection Wild Child, published this spring. In The Lie, a new father desperate for some free time concocts a lie about the death of his baby. He enjoys the ancillary benefits — excused from work and given money by his co-workers — but he is never quite able to free himself from the lie.

On Sunday, L’Arbre will make an appearance reading another new Boyle story, My Pain is Worse than Your Pain. The story is about one man’s mission to acquire his neighbor’s wife, the lengths that he will to go to and the pain that he will endure to achieve his goal. It contains the ironic aplomb and the harshly honest examination of its main character — an aging, not quite content baby-boomer — that are hallmarks of Boyle’s writing. L’Arbre has performed frequently with Speaking of Stories, and has had a long career in Santa Barbara theater, notably as a founding member of the Ensemble Theatre Company, with whom he appeared in 19 roles beginning with their first production, G.B. Shaw’s Candida. He is also active as a voice-over artist and appears on the Best of Speaking of Stories spoken word CD.

Last season, Bradford Dillman graced the Speaking of Stories stage for the first time, and we are thrilled that he will be returning to read from his memoir, Are You Anybody? An Actor’s Life. Joining Bradford will be his daughter, Pamela, who has worked as an actress, teacher of acting, director and professional narrator.

Selby will be making his Speaking of Stories debut reading Tower of Fame by Elizabeth Iron Folsom. Selby’s multifaceted career has spanned stage, television, film and radio. He has also written plays and poetry and directed numerous youth programs. The story that Selby will be lending his considerable talent to begins as gossip told at a dinner party about mutual acquaintances and becomes something different. It is part fable, part mystery, and an ordinary story about the circumstances surrounding two people meeting and falling in love.

Before the performances, author and Speaking of Stories founder Steven Gilbar will sign copies of his newest books: Catch-22, or Babbitt: A Lilliputian Lexicon of Literary Eponyms and Turquoise Capris & Peach Daiquiris: A Little Lexicon of Words Derived From Places.

Catch-22, or Babbitt is a collection of words derived from literary, legendary and mythological people and places. Turquoise Capris & Peach Daiquiris is an alphabetical dictionary of words derived from places, i.e., toponyms, along with definitions, origins and examples, some serious and some droll. Proceeds from the book sales will support Speaking of Stories.

Speaking of Stories plays at 2 p.m. Sundays and 7:30 p.m. Mondays at Center Stage Theater, 751 Paseo Nuevo. Box office hours are noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and one hour before all shows.

Tickets are $10 to $25. Click here or call the box office at 805.963.0408 for tickets, or click here for more information. The Center Stage Theater is wheelchair accessible and has the Assistive Listening System in place for patrons who are hard of hearing.

Teri Ball is the executive director of Speaking of Stories.