Review-Liars' League-Story Worthy Week
By: Matthew Gillespie
Liars' League appeared as a part of Hong Kong’s second annual Story Worthy Week with great zeal and aplomb.
Story Worthy Week is “a Hong Kong-based arts festival that believes that everyone in Hong Kong has a story to tell.” Over the course of about 12 days, there will be numerous Story Worthy events.
Liars' League was established in the UK back in 2007 with a similar premise. They believe that actors and writers of fiction are the ultimate liars. When these artists come together with an audience to hear them, you’ve got the perfect recipe for an evening of entertainment.
Liars' League Hong Kong had its debut in February 2013. Each month, professional actors present stories submitted by different writers based on a theme. As they appeared as part of the Story Worthy Week, the theme was Hong Kong.
The Liars' League judges did a remarkable job of choosing five stories that had a wide range of viewpoints and voices. We laughed, we pondered and we shed a tear or two.
A Chance to Sing by Paul Flack - read by Sean Hebert
The evening began with a highly entertaining romp through the world of karaoke and that die-hard belief that ‘I was meant to be a star’. Sean Hebert delivered it fearlessly, demonstrating how much he wanted to be the next karaoke legend. While it was a staged reading, he still gave us just that right amount of movement and action to truly bring the story to life.
It Was Land by PJ Carnehan - read by Hin Leung
The next piece was more melancholy, yet touching. We were able to see pieces of Hong Kong through the eyes of an older couple as they return to Hong Kong after three decades to see the family land they had left behind. Hin Leung presented it with care, bringing their frustrations to life. His seated posture worked for this piece since it was told from the point of view of an older couple but it also decreased his stage presence a little. Seated story telling works a little better on a tall stool.
Accounts Payable by Yalun Tu - read by Daniel Jade Levia
This was the most complex story of the evening as it was six mini-stories based in Hong Kong but centered around the idea of paying your dues. Through these short stories we met a powerful CEO, a mother who lost her child, a former professional basketball player and an interesting insight into the life long duel between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. Daniel Jade Levia presented these stories with a lively energy and was able to bring a different voice to each story. However, it wasn’t clear if the sing songy introductions of each piece were an author’s choice or the artist's choice; it seemed a little disruptive and unnecessary.
Instructions for Visiting Hong Kong by Sarah Evans - read by Jeanne M. Lambin
A truly touching tale of a woman who came to Hong Kong, completing the trip that she and her partner had planned before her partner’s unexpected death. It highlighted well Hong Kong’s internal war of wanting to be modern but holding on to tradition yet, at the same time, told the touching tale of a woman’s own struggle with holding on and letting go. Jeanne M. Lambin helped the audience feel the emotions as they boiled over. A memorable performance. She lied well.
The Eunuch's Tale by John Merk Robertson - read by Michael Charles Rogers
A very interesting tale – humorously macabre. It stemmed from the Chinese tradition of eunuchs holding high power in the Imperial Court and how that would translate into modern society. This brazen story was delivered without irony by Michael Charles Rogers. He didn’t hesitate to make clear all of the uncomfortable moments of the story - always great to see on the stage, my only critique being that staged readings require more eye contact with the audience.
Throughout the evening, Anderson Muth, also known as The Groove Thief, titillated all in attendance with a delightful assortment of reggae music.
There is still more to come during Story Worthy Week and the Liars' League will be having its next monthly presentation soon. It’s free, so why not take a chance and try something new? Just buy a drink, sit back and hear some new voices in the literary and artistic community. It’s a win all the way around.
Liars' League regularly plays the last Monday of every month. For more information, click here.
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