• Theatre
    The Events

    A drama with music, but not a musical, with a permanent presence of an amateur community choir whose members continuously alternate their roles between actors, props and audience.

    While having a different community choir each night might sound like a gimmick, it works in The Events by David Greig, as the choir is deeply integrated in the performance, taking on occasional tiny supporting roles and acting as a projection of less tangible aspects of the unfolding story.

    Young Vic Open Voices

    As a member of Young Vic Open Voices, a choir of locals put together specially for three performances of the London run of The Events at the Young Vic, I volunteered for the odd solo line as a singer and for a few text lines as...someone who speaks: We were briefed to not act but behave normally when reading (not reciting!) the lines, a technique that brought home the real-world authenticity of the play quite well.

    The Young Vic appointed Rob Holt as our Musical Director, who within only ten weeks of rehearsals confidently managed to unite singers of various skill levels, including those who never really sang before, and on the performance nights we represented a typical community choir quite well - perhaps better than a regular choir, whose self-selecting membership often shows characteristics of a very similar demographic, as I witnessed on two other occasions when I saw The Events as a normal audience member.

    Production Crew

    While composer John Browne was present in a very early workshop almost a year before our performance, the piano work on the actual run was shared between three pianists, and we were apparently the only choir to work with all three of them, exposing us to interesting differences in the interpretation of the music.

    Director Ramin Gray, who also heads the show's production company ATC as Artistic Director, visited us at the run-through just before the final London show; normally directions, along with a surprising multitude of changes between performances, were relayed by Associate Director Polina Kalinina during the run-through just before each show, where both lead actors Neve McIntosh of Doctor Who fame (Madame Vastra) and Rudi Dharmalingam joined the familiarisation exercise for the choirs, as did Stage Manager Jess Banks, who somewhat unusually also had a small speaking role.

    Conclusion

    All in all, this was an interesting opportunity to observe and be involved in a full theatre and music production, especially as I was involved to some minor but useful degree from way before the dress rehearsal, which I also attended.

    Please also see my piece on the rehearsal experience on the Young Vic Taking Part blog.

    Note: The Events is nominated for Best New Play at the 2014 What's On Stage Awards - please vote!

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    The Events

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