Appearances

Appearances

FICTION There’s the family you grew up with: your mom, your dad, your siblings. And then, there’s the family you carry around in your head for the rest of your life. This show is about that second family, the one that lives within you. From Mermaid Palace and Radiotopia, Sharon Mashihi brings you Appearances, a one woman audio show that straddles the line between fiction and truth. Appearances brings to life an Iranian American family and community through the real and fantastical mental machinations of Melanie Barzadeh. Melanie is in her mid 30’s and desires nothing more than to become a mother. The difficulty of finding the right partner seems to be directly connected to the struggles witnessed in her home throughout her entire childhood. As Sharon Mashihi voice-acts all the characters in one family, the depth of the love, pain, and struggle is felt with a visceral, profound compassion at every turn.

Episodes

September 11, 2020 3 min

An audio mindtrip about an Iranian American woman, the family she carries around in her head, and the family that she wants to have.

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Part A of the prologue is a note from Sharon about why this podcast is labeled "fiction". Part B is a history of the town of Great Neck, as told by Faribah, the neighbor across the street. As Faribah always likes to say, "In this neighborhood, the windows are very important. What can you see when you look out of them, and what can everybody else see when they look in?"

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September 29, 2020 37 min

In this episode, we meet Melanie, her family—who appear as voices in her head—and her ill-fated lover as they discuss potentially having a baby, and her first pregnancy 9 years ago.

[This episode contains scenes that deal with difficult topics, including abortion, and may be distressing for some listeners.]

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Melanie is at her brother’s wedding and feeling out of place.  She is unsure about long term relationships, so she takes us inside the intimate details of her parents’ marriage to find out why. 

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October 6, 2020 25 min

This episode belongs to Vida, Melanie’s mom.  We twist and turn through the caverns of her past and present to understand what it feels like, as Vida puts it, "to live with your heart outside your body."

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October 9, 2020 37 min

Melanie asks: Is it still worth trying to make it work with men?

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October 13, 2020 31 min

While Melanie is preparing physically and spiritually to get pregnant, she receives news that yet again makes her spiral into uncertainty.

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October 16, 2020 20 min

Melanie begins the process of acquiring sperm and getting pregnant.

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It worked. Now Melanie has a secret. Only one person knows it. That one person... is Sharon Mashihi.

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October 23, 2020 33 min

This is the episode where Melanie has to tell her mother. She is terrified.

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October 27, 2020 31 min

The finale.

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November 10, 2021 9 min

Hi. It’s nice to be back in your ears.

We want to tell you about a new series we think Appearances listeners will especially like. It’s called S***hole Country and it’s an audio memoir about the many, many complexities of being second generation American. And, it’s a story told with a lot of love.

To hear more, subscribe to Radiotopia Presents in your podcast app of choice.

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