★ ★ ★ ★
David Greig’s play The Events attempts to make sense of the unconscionable: a mass shooting with an apparently racist motivation. If the shadow of recent news-stories that haunts it suggests a literal rendering of contemporary experience, the play’s jagged form and uncomfortable juxtapositions make for far more complex viewing.
Set in the music room of a local community centre, the play’s central focus appears to be Claire (Neve McIntosh), a local vicar and choirmaster, whose faith is challenged by the horrific events that unfold one evening during rehearsals. One of few survivors, she becomes obsessed with The Boy (Rudi Dharmalingam) who perpetrated that attack, and with trying to understand him, and with trying to forgive him. What we learn about The Boy is both specific (he likes Call of Duty) and vague (he identifies himself as a tribal warrior avenging millennia of aboriginal dispossession). But his motivation is beside the point. The expressionistic structure – in which The Boy becomes his father, Claire’s partner and psychiatrist – mirrors Claire’s disintegrating mind. Ramin Gray’s production is structured by live choral music and the decimated choir appear to Claire as a kind of Greek chorus, commenting on the action and, through their music, distilling the emotional impact of the tragedy.
However, The Events is not Claire’s story nor is it The Boy’s. It is instead an attempt to embody the effects wreaked upon an entire community rather than individuals. It is also an attempt to create a new community: literally, through the the touring company’s active engagement with local choirs (on opening night, The Lassus Scholars) and, in more metaphorical terms, through their transaction with the audience. The theatre is, of course, a doubly symbolic site for this sort of conversation to take place and the unsettling result is far more meaningful than the cheap togetherness solicited by easy sentiment.
By Sara Keating, Irish Times 02 Oct
|A very bad iPhone shot of the Post-Show talk at The Events on Oct 1st|
L-R: Writer David Greig, Actor Neve McIntosh, Director Ramin Gray,
Actor Rudi Dharmalingam, Talking Theatre Co-ordinator Eugene Downes