ESSENTIALS

Cockburn Gazette - - LIFESTYLE - Tanya MacNaughton

DAVID Greig’s play The Events finds hope in dark­ness, which given the sub­ject mat­ter is not an easy task.

Set in the af­ter­math of a shoot­ing at a lo­cal town hall where a com­mu­nity choir meets, the work blends theatre and mu­sic in a beau­ti­ful story about heal­ing.

Black Swan State Theatre Com­pany artis­tic di­rec­tor Clare Watson directed Cather­ine McCle­ments (Wa­ter Rats, Rush) and Johnny Carr in the work two years ago for au­di­ences in Syd­ney, Melbourne and Ade­laide and has brought her two-han­der cast to Perth for a sea­son at Stu­dio Un­der­ground from June 21 to July 8.

Melbourne-based McCle­ments plays vicar and com­mu­nity choir leader Claire, who must deal with her emo­tions af­ter the event.

“The play is a mov­ing and hu­mane way at look­ing at what’s on the front cover of the news­pa­per and what peo­ple are afraid of and don’t re­ally know how to re­spond to,” McCle­ments said.

“I think it’s a piece of theatre re­spond­ing to that anx­i­ety in so­ci­ety and that’s what theatre’s for, for us to come to­gether as a com­mu­nity and con­tem­plate things.

“For me it’s a beau­ti­ful con­tem­pla­tion with a great sense of joy in the idea of com­mu­nity.”

This no­tion of com­mu­nity is brought on to the stage quite lit­er­ally, with a dif­fer­ent Perth com­mu­nity choir at each per­for­mance who are sent the mu­sic but not the script.

“They turn up an hour be­fore and we give some of them a lit­tle act­ing part,” McCle­ments said.

“They are on stage the whole time and watch the play. They know there are cues and the di­rec­tor tells them when to stand up and sing, and Johnny and I some­times talk to them di­rectly.

“They sit be­hind the ac­tion, so the au­di­ence watches them watch­ing as well. I think the process for the au­di­ence is in a way like watch­ing them­selves watch the play. We’ve had choirs gasp and cry but they’re usu­ally very still and very en­gaged. That makes the dynamics of the play.” The Events Stu­dio Un­der­ground June 21 to July 8 www.bsstc.com.au

Cather­ine McCle­ments as Claire in The Events.

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