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The Events

Young Vic ATC tour Traverse

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#1 Honoured Guest

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 12:55 PM

Now we know what's coming up at most theatres for the second half of 2013, this new play by David Greig stands out as most eagerly anticipated this autumn. Its serious and ambitious subject (humane response to atrocity) and David Greig's history of intriguing us, along with the participation of local choirs, mark this as a must-see production which could be really special. It opens at Traverse 1, playing throughout the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August, comes to the Young Vic for a month in October, and will tour widely in the UK and beyond, with Birmingham Rep and Bristol Old Vic dates in November already announced. David Greig's National Theatre of Scotland show The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart, playing now in London as part of the Royal Court's Theatre Local season, should serve as a good appetiser for The Events.

#2 Pharaoh's number 2

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 11:47 AM

I saw this last night and found it rather moving. It's a highly ambiguous play and one I won't pretend I really understood, but what comes across is the importance of community. And the brilliance of this piece is the involvement of a choir, a different one at every performance. Last night was the turn of the Walthamstow Mixed Choir - an all-girl Sixth Form from near Sevenoaks, whose choir also involves parents and staff. And they are fully integrated into the piece, acting as well as singing. Most of the music is production specific, composed by John Browne, but each choir opens the show with a song which represents them, and Walthamstow performed a wonderful version of 'Amazing Grace'.

The cast of two are excellent, Neve McIntosh as the lesbian vicar whose life was shattered by The Events is especially good. And the ending is stunning. A song by Browne called 'We're all here', the lyrics of which are unfortunately not in the playtext. I can only assume this was a late addition. But it really showed how a community sticks together whatever, and the vitality of community run projects for the enrichment of people's lives.



#3 Honoured Guest

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 12:17 AM

I finally saw this tonight. My lovely choir was StroudSong, "a community choir for everyone". I latched on to the play a bit differently than Pharaoh's number 2. My interest lay with The Boy, and why he acted as he did. For me, the choir was passive in the action. Serendipitously, I viewed the British Museum Tour exhibition "Roman Empire - Power & People" at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery just a couple of hours beforehand, so I went into The Events thinking of people acquiescing in what the powerful do to them, and I was already attuned to considering whether unpleasant events may be inevitable and deciding I would probably go with the flow in such circumstances. I didn't properly pay attention to the quest of the priest, except in so far as to be interested in the different facets of the Boy which she revealed.

This production also got me thinking about other plays I've seen where amateur choirs have been key performers. In NTW and Rimini Protokoll's Outdoors, Heartsong Choir of Aberystwyth were the only performers - firstly, on our individual i-pads, leading each audience member on a separate trail around the town, guiding us with shadow musings and encounters. all recorded in the very places through which we were walking. Then all the trails converged on the actual weekly choir rehearsal which we joined (and joined in) for its conclusion, before an opportunity to informally chat to choir members over their post-rehearsal refreshments.

And around thirty years ago, near the beginning of the RSC's The Dillen in The Other Place, music started and about twenty "audience members" suddenly stood up together, turned to face the rest of us, and sang "This is the story of The Dillen / Born in this town / ..."





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