The Events is a work of fiction by David Greig. It is based on a series of real events which took place in Norway in July 2011. After detonating a bomb in a van that killed eight people in Oslo, a terrorist then travelled to a youth summer camp and systematically murdered sixty-nine people.
By exposing the fear, the grief, the guilt, the hate and a myriad of other emotions experienced by a survivor of an horrific incident, Greig tries to help put The Events is perspective, to understand why.
Why? Seriously? Yes, seriously why?
I am not sure that the question is answered. More so, many other questions are asked: Is it nature or nurture? A disturbed childhood? A sexual issue – is he gay, or a virgin? Or, is it just a case that, in life, shit happens?
The central character is Claire, the survivor, played by Anna O’Grady with an intensity that left you feeling her pain, confusion and sadness. Josh Collins essentially plays almost all of the other parts, by which Greig cleverly dilutes his importance as the killer. Collins’ character switches being quick and subtle mean that you really do need to pay attention to this gripping play.
Claire needs therapy, refuses pills, chooses chanting and looks to nature for support. Those around her want to help, but are powerless to understand what is not possible to explain with logic. Her choir, her reason for being, leave her because they too do not understand.
In her fantasies Claire wonders if making love to the killer will make him understand how wrong he is – or should she just poison him and be done with him. In reality, she cannot bring herself to do the latter, for then she would be no better than he.
This is a thought provoking piece, powerfully acted by O’Grady & Collins. But let us not forget Scott Gray, the choir’s leader. As well as directing the choir musically, he has one of the most difficult tasks to perform. To tell Claire that her choir has abandoned her. In time, they return. In song, they rebuild their lives. And though those live have changed forever, there is hope.
The choir themselves are a 30-strong group of volunteers drawn from the community in Colchester. Twelve perform at each show – for many an opportunity to take part in something very different, for there are lines to be read as well!
[box type=”info” align=”” class=”” width=””]The Events runs at The Mercury Studio until June 17th. Click here for tickets.[/box]