by Monica Hay, Literary Arts intern
Liars’ League PDX hosted its last event of 2017 at Literary Arts on October 21. The theme for this round was “Fires and Quakes.” Liars’ League, founded in London, is an organization that hosts events where professional actors perform work by writers. Writers have the opportunity to submit unpublished work that reflects on a theme, and Liars’ League matches an actor to each piece chosen for performance. “Fire and Quakes” was the fifth event of the year.
The theme was particularly close to home because of the Gorge Fire, which has destroyed over 40,000 acres in the Columbia River Gorge. The four stories selected for the performances varied on the way each tackled the theme. The audience followed tales that explored matchbook collections, unity following earthquake disasters, the relationship between young brothers in a dysfunctional home, and the stories behind scars.
The writers included Christi Suzanne, Anne ONeill, Steven Lohse, and Gregg Kleiner. Jon Farley performed Christi’s piece, titled “The Match Book Room.” In the piece, Christi explores a father’s obsession with matchbooks. The daughter recounts her father’s collection, and the boy he exploited who was simply looking for acceptance and connection. The story reflects on the sense of belonging we all crave. Gabriella Kirby performed Anne ONeill’s piece “Shudders”, which recounts a person’s experience with an earthquake and the aftermath. The piece reflects on the suffering earthquakes bring, from physical injuries to the posttraumatic stress of the victims.
Steven Lohse’s “What We Burned and Why” was presented by David Caldwell. In the story, two brothers assemble paper airplanes in an attic as their parents argue below. They light the planes on fire, and throw them out the window, causing havoc at the end. Amber Bogdewiecz performed the last story “Tell Me About Yours” by Gregg Kleiner, which ended the night with a love story. The piece detailed a boy’s date with the girl he has a crush on. The boy is missing an ear, and the girl has scars throughout her body, which we learn were caused by a horse’s fright during a thunderstorm.
Liars’ League events are free and held at The Studio at Literary Arts, 925 SW Washington, Portland Oregon. If you are interested in learning more about Liars’ League, submitting writing, or applying to be an actor, their website is at liarsleaguepdx.com. Free tickets are required for admission. Doors open at 6:30 and the show begins at 7:00pm. Check the Liars’ League website for updates and announcements on the 2018 schedule.
Liars League PDX: Writers write. Actors read. Audience Listens. Everybody wins.