Acrostic and Haiku for Midsummer

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Alison Absolute sent us lots of Haiku… Almost the Complete Works of Shakespeare: we couldn’t use them all, these are just some – a page got dropped somewhere so there are fewer than we intended – read by Katy Darby, Carrie Cohen & Saul Reichlin

Saul Reichlin reads Pat Tompkins‘ acrostic, What’s in a Name? Listen carefully, in true Elizabethan cryptic style, there’s a message buried in the first letters of each line

there are lots more videos to come, keep an eye out!

Silence in Court! Midsummer custody battle video

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Crown versus Crown a prize-winning sketch by Carolyn Eden based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in which Titania and Oberon fight for custody of the Changeling.

Titania- Carrie Cohen
Oberon- Saul Reichlin
Cobweb- Katy Darby
Robin Goodfellow- Cliff Chapman
Judge- Mike Eden

Midsummer: Sonnet and Neighbour complaint Videos

Video

Our revels may be ended but we still have memories to look back upon.

We got a lot of poems in response to our Midsummer Shakespeare400 call out, here are just 2 of them!

Kim Russell sent us her Response to Sonnet 12 (read by Carrie Cohen), so we thought you should hear the actual Sonnet 12 (read by Saul Reichlin) before the response: it seemed only fair!

Sarah Lawson imagined what it was like to live Next Door to the Capulets. This poem is introduced with a little bit of Romeo & Juliet from Katy Darby & Cliff Chapman

There’s lots more to come, but my laptop is almost full, despite off loading vast quantities of files, so editing the videos is tiresome, and for some reason uploading is taking an age too. So patience will be required!

Longest night – the complete videos

It’s twelfth night, and the official end of the festive season, so as you pack up your Christmas baubles, here’s something to cheer you up: your opportunity to experience the entire evening of Longest Night, in the same order as the audience, but without me waffling on in between, and without the mulled cider, unless you happen to have some to hand of course.

Wassail Vocal Chords


A Little Favour by Wendy Gill Read by Annalie Wilson


Past Three a Clock Vocal Chords


At The Hotel De La Lune by Sarah James Read by all the actors


Naughty Baby Ian Kennedy & Sarah Lloyd


Midwinter Wife by Cherry Potts Read by Annalie Wilson


Ba Ba Lamie Noo Ian Kennedy & Sarah Lloyd


Life Between Lives by Sarah Evans Read by Patsy Prince


Solstice Carol Ian Kennedy & Sarah Lloyd 

https://youtu.be/P9iL6VDTazk
How We Know the Cold is Coming, or October by Abigail Beckel Read by Annalie Wilson


The Cold Time Ian Kennedy & Sarah Lloyd


Mouse by David Mathews Read by Lorraine Spenceley


Dunstan Lullaby Vocal Chords


Spooning by Abigail Beckel Read by Annalie Wilson


Soulmate Annalie


Dancing To Silence by Neil Brosnan Read by Lorraine Spenceley


The Snow it Melts the Soonest Ian Kennedy & Sarah Lloyd


The Lover.s Ghost Ian Kennedy & Sarah Lloyd


Vigil by Abigail Beckel Read by Lorraine Spenceley


Crossing the Bar Vocal Chords


Dunking For a New Sun by Bob Beagrie Read by Saul Reichlin


Drive the Cold Winter Away Vocal Chords


What He Doesn’t Know by Frances Gapper Read by Patsy Prince


Waves Annalie


Doubting Thomas by David McVey Read by Saul Reichlin


We Will Be Heard Annalie


Left of Earth, Right of Venus by Pauline Walker Read by Patsy Prince


The Astronaut Annalie

First Longest Night Video up on YouTube

Video

It’s a slow process editing all the videos, but we are getting there. here’s the first: Sarah James’ At the Hotel de la Lune, read by Annalie Wilson, Lorraine Spenceley, Patsy Prince and Saul Reichlin.

Longest Night Photos

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Full cast of readers performing At The Hotel de la Lune by Sarah James. (L-R: Annalie Wilson, Lorraine Spenceley, Patsy Prince, Saul Reichlin.

IMG_0363Sarah Lloyd and Ian Kennedy singing one of their lullabies.

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Annalie singing

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Patsy, Sarah & Ian performing the final story: Left of Earth, Right of Venus by Pauline Walker.

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Saul reading Doubting Thomas by David McVey

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Lorraine reading Mouse by David Mathews.

IMG_0361Annalie reading The Midwinter Wife by Cherry Potts.IMG_0359

A small segment of the above capacity audience…

I’m hoping other people will share their photos… especially as I don’t have any of Vocal Chords as I was singing with them. (HINT)

A Month of Sundays by Alison Moore Solstice Shorts Festival Video

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Saul Reichlin reads A Month of Sundays by Alison Moore (one of the Judges of our short story competition)  at West Greenwich Library.

Late for the funeral of his oldest friend, Ralph makes some unexpected new friends…

Our BSL Interpreters had an incredibly long day and didn’t get much time to rehearse, so treat the signing as a (very good)  indication of the story rather than a perfect rendition.

Liars’ League: Behind the Scenes, Part 3 – The Event Itself! A guest blog from Liam Hogan

man and machinePreviously (i.e. Part 1 and Part 2) : five amazing stories on the theme of Man & Machine have been selected, polished, paired with our super-talented actors, and rehearsed. So all we need to do now is have them read aloud on stage to an adoring audience, right?
Well, as ever with Liars’ League there’s a little more going on behind the scenes than that! And with this wrap up piece, I also want to credit anyone I have neglected to mention so far. First up for that treatment, is Gaurav Sarin who does the art work for the League’s posters. You can see more of his work here.
After winding our respective ways home from the rehearsals, the actors take their much-scribbled-upon notes and practice their respective Indian/German/Afghan/Machine accents, or make sure they don’t trip up on that key section which happens to also fall on a page break. Katy Darby, founder and Liar Almighty, collects and collates the author and actor bios to create the highly desirable (they all go) event programmes, and updates the Facebook pages as well as ensuring the video and audio recording devices are ready to immortalise the event via Podcast and YouTube channels. Also available via the Liars’ website, of course!
Meanwhile, yours truly, host and backstage photographer for the event, dashed out Part 2 of the blog, before cobbling together his customarily whimsical introduction and a set of fiendishly geeky questions for the Infamous Liars League Book quiz! Ooh …
The doors of our lair beneath The Phoenix opened at 7pm, but the Liars Dissemble (geddit?) a little earlier than that. We have an event to put together, after all …

In addition to a little light room-rearrangement, (good as an actor’s warm up exercise) we run through the tops and tails of each story, to make sure the host isn’t completely discombobulated by the simple act of a handover, and we also take the time to feed the always-ravenous Book of Lies: stories go in, but have you ever seen them come out again? No, nor I!
Mind you, that’s not entirely true anymore, thanks to the endeavours of Arachne Press! Cherry and co have already put together two compilations of the best of Liars’ League stories, London Lies and Lovers Lies, and a third – Weird Lies – is on the way.
Even when the doors open, and while the eager audience amasses, the actors are forgoing the temptations put before them (payment for their services in booze – the event’s in a pub, after all) and instead diligently and soberly practice their lines. What LL does is “performed readings”; so the text is in front of the actors on our snazzy Perspex lectern, but even so, they’re all pros who know that holding their audience entranced often means holding their audience’s gaze, despite the bright lights and the occasional rattle of cutlery. (Food is available, and rather good …)

Sabina Cameron copyright Liam Hogan

Sabina Cameron copyright Liam Hogan

With the room chock full, extending even to the distant far corners, the lights dim, the music quietens, and my big moment arrives – the chance to “Talk like a 1980s robot”. Obviously (thankfully?) this opportunity does not come up very often, and I wasn’t going to miss out … Then, with phones silenced, and audience wondering when I was going to let someone on who knows what they are doing, it was my sincere pleasure to introduce Sabina Cameron to the stage, to read the first story, Duct Tape, Masking Tape, Whatever by (Lovers’ Lies author) Darren Lee.
Now, if you’re reading this blog and you weren’t there, despite my strongly worded advice in Parts 1 and 2: to wit, to attend! – all is not lost, because most appropriately for a Man & Machine theme, Sabina was surrounded by a multitude of recording devices, and if you click the title above it’ll take you through to the Liars page where you can find Video, Audio, and also good ol’fashioned text! (Captured by the fine weave of the textaphone, lower left)

Adam Diggle copyright Liam Hogan

Adam Diggle copyright Liam Hogan

Following Darren’s quirky tale we had Adam Diggle, reading What I am Without by (Lovers’ Lies and Weird Lies author) Richard Smyth. Richard is usually a denizen of Leeds, and ran Liars’ League Leeds from there (easier than running either of the other two offshoots – Liars’ League NYC and Liars’ League Hong Kong from Leeds!) until, after about a year, the Liars’ magic rubbed off on him and he became the world famous author of Bum Fodder – An Absorbing History of Toilet Paper, appearing (aptly enough) on Loose Ends to discuss it with Clive Anderson. And now there’s no stopping him, though alas, this does mean Liars’ Leeds is taking a break.
Richard and his brother James, both of whom have had a multitude of stories performed at Liars’ League and both of whom appear in the pages of the aforementioned and forthcoming Arachne Press’s Liar Anthologies, were hiding out at the back of the room, too modest (or possibly, too late) to grab the front row limelight.

Peter Noble copyright Liam Hogan

Peter Noble copyright Liam Hogan

Wrapping up the first half was Peter Noble, reading The Archive of Ivan Dragoyevich by (Weird Lies author) Alan Graham. As you can see, even the shadows were channelling the spirit, of the late, great, Ivan Dragoyevich! Or the Monster. Or both. Peter and Alan are League regulars so you can track down their previous stories/readings via Who are our Actors? and Who are our Writers?

You’re smart people – of course you are. Otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this… you KNOW how you get onto our “Who Are Our Audience?” page don’t you? Full disclosure forces me to admit we don’t currently have such a page. But we do have a photo …

liar audience

Liars’ Audience copyright Liam Hogan

There they are! Don’t they look like they’re having a blast? Next time, it could be you! This is during the interval, of course, with the house lights up. Can’t see a soul out there during the intros/readings/book quiz. Fortunately we have very good echolocation…

liarsaul

Saul Reichin copyright Liam Hogan

liar henrietta

Henrietta Clemett copyright Liam Hogan

And after the Infamous Liars’ League book quiz (example (trick) question: “What is the name of the time traveller in HG Wells’s The Time Machine?”) in which three brand spanking new books were given to three highly intelligent and attractive audience members, it was time for the second half, kicked off by Saul Reichlin reading The Car Mover by Rosanna Boscawen.
Rosanna is a new author to the Liars stable, which is humungous, and multinational, and quite simply amazing, as it only includes authors who have had a story read by the League. (Well, yes, I suppose I might be in there somewhere…)
Ending the evening on a predatory note, was Henrietta Clemett, dressed for the Afghan plains, reading The Love Song of the Predator Drone by Owen Booth. I might have mentioned accents previously; Henrietta’s included Ahmed the classical historian/goatherd and the embedded German war philosopher Sabine, a character with whom at least one audience member immediately fell in love …
And that, ladies and gentlemen, brought the evening, and brings this blog, to a rapid close. I won’t mention the hours spent, post-event, making sure the actors, authors, and hosts drank The Phoenix dry (or drier, at the very least) and all the other people who stuck around afterwards, to bask in the glow that comes from another successful event. Intrigued? Excited? Inspired? Visit the Liars’ League website, sign up for our Facebook page, follow the Liars, or tootle your email address over and we’ll do all the work, keeping you informed twice a month, just before each event, and just after the web is updated with all those glorious stories! (Another of Katy’s Herculean tasks …)

We’ll be back, sans blog, for Kings & Queens on the 11th June, and you writers out there, you have until 2nd June to get your 2000 word (or shorter!) stories in on Hope & Glory – July’s theme. Write for us. Read for us. Or sit back and let us read to you. And like the motto says, Everybody Wins!

Liars’ League: Behind The Scenes, Part 2 – The Rehearsals! A guest blog from Liam Hogan

man and machineA quick recap (or, heck, you could go read the whole of Part 1): from a field of 45 submissions five brilliant stories battled triumphantly through the Liars’ strenuous selection process, and with the help of a little light feedback (a nip there, a tuck there) are in fine fettle and ready to be paired with five wonderful actors from the Liars’ stable. Or is it an “unstable”? What IS the collective name for the over a hundred actors on the Liars’ books?

It is this wonderful resource that is the unique and enviable raison d’etre of Liars’ League; it was the happy marriage of a desire to see short stories read to their fullest impact, and Katy Darby and Tim Aldrich’s links to the acting fraternity, that lead to the foundation of the League, and is still the reason why it works so well. Great stories, read by pros. This is where the magic begins!

Katy does a call out to all of the actors; who’s available for both rehearsals and performance? (Pesky actors, sometimes they get like, y’know? paid work!) Who can do both a German and an Afghan accent? If it’s a first person story, who (as far as possible) embodies the narrator – the essence – of the piece? We are fortunate indeed that our actors cover a wide range of ages and types, of backgrounds and accents.

The nature of the event – performed readings – attracts talent from the worlds of voiceover (such as recent VOX 2013 Best Female Voiceover Artist winner Louisa Gummer) and audio books (such as Saul Reichlin, the voice of Steig Larsson’s novels on audio, who’s reading on Tuesday! TODAY), as well as more traditional acting forms, and we welcome them all! If you’re an actor interested in performing for the League, see So, you want to read, then, do you?

Once the actors have had a chance to read the stories, it’s time for the Man & Machine rehearsals!

liars rehearsalWARNING: This is an artist’s impression. Actual rehearsals may not be quite as civilised…

So, on Sunday night, fighting grey skies and a Northern line reluctant to carry anyone anywhere, we descended upon the oft-used Kentish Town kitchen of the long-standing Liars’ patron mysteriously known only by a single initial – Q. We encourage and prefer it if the authors can turn up as well, but sometimes their input is limited to a few guideline comments, delivered from afar. (Or “Leeds” as it is sometimes known).

First up for the rehearsals was “The Love Song of the Predator Drone” by Owen Booth (here!), to be read by first time Liar actor Henrietta Clemett. Henrietta has been on the Liars’ books for a while – heads were scratched as to where and when she had her audition; we think it might have been at the Wheatsheaf (the previous Liars’ venue, before we outgrew it). She quickly found her feet and even Owen’s lengthy sentences were no match for her German and Afghan accents.

As she read, Katy and I chipped in directions and suggestions while Owen sat in the corner laughing at his own jokes … Some of the suggestions needed a small amendment to the text – a repeated word here, a need for a pause there, or in one case me getting entirely the wrong end of the stick (silly me), though others kindly agreed that perhaps I wouldn’t be the only one. Being read to is a very different beast to reading the story yourself, and you don’t have the chance (it would somewhat destroy the flow) to ask the actor to repeat a line you didn’t quite get. A quick on-the-fly edit by Owen later removed the possible obstacle, and on with the reading.

Different pieces pose different challenges to the actor-readers. The second rehearsal (What I Am Without by Richard Smyth (Not here!), read by Adam Diggle) raised a perennial difficulty; how the audience can distinguish between the various voices when there is only one reader. In this case made doubly complicated because the narrator was… well, no, I won’t spoil the surprise! Adam had read for the Liars’ at a related event, (Willesden Herald Short Story Prize) but this too would be his first Liars’ League event proper. Naturally, he aced it, but as mentioned in the selection process blog, it is in matters of voice that some good stories prove to be well-nigh unperformable. Occasionally – when the  story is strong enough – we cheat, and drag two actors up onto stage, but that really wouldn’t have helped in this case – you’ll see what I mean when you come watch the show TONIGHT – you ARE coming, aren’t you? Or, if you find this blog in some distant and hazy future, seek out Part 3 for links to the recordings.

The third rehearsal was “The Archive of Ivan Dragoyevich” by Alan Graham (here!), read by Peter Noble. Both Peter and Alan are Liars’ League regulars, and by some strange mind meld thingy, were in perfect synch as the story began.

Like a misaligned video/audio track though, some issues came up as the story proceeded, and as we sat trying to imagine ourselves into the deeper and darker scenarios that Alan had created, well, I for one was thankful for the creature comforts of a cup of tea and a Katy Darby baked cake …

The two remaining stories were rehearsed before and after the traditional Sunday session, (due to actor availability) so this was a short rehearsal for us – giving those who needed to brave bus replacement services a chance to do so with relative impunity. The only thing that remained, official business wise, was to decide the running order.

Those of you who have been to Liars’ nights before know we like to end on a high. usually with a comic story, but there is much more to it than this. With three stories in the first half and two in the second, we’re looking to give you an emotional and literary roller coaster. Our stories for this theme include horror and humour, dark and light, short and long, fantasy and gritty realism. After much debate, the running order will be:

Duct Tape, Masking Tape, Whatever by Darren Lee (Lovers’ Lies author), read by Sabina Cameron
What I am Without by Richard Smyth (Lovers’ Lies author), read by Adam Diggle
The Archive of Ivan Dragoyevich by Alan Graham (Weird Lies author), read by Peter Noble
The Car Mover by Rosanna Boscawen, read by Saul Reichlin
The Love Song of the Predator Drone by Owen Booth, read by Henrietta Clemett

Unless of course, it isn’t.

The next blog, Part 3, will detail the event itself, but really, the biggest favour you could possibly do yourself, is to turn up on Tuesday TODAY!!! at The Phoenix, Cavendish Square and watch it live!

© Liam Hogan 2013