CONFRONTING: Catherine McClements stars in The Events by David Greig.
CONFRONTING: Catherine McClements stars in The Events by David Greig. Brett Boardman

The Events: delving into the madness of violence

CLAIRE is a minister and the director of a choir that meets regularly in a local hall. It's made up of all sorts: from the lonely and the strange to the privileged and the comfortable.

When a disaffected young man enters the hall and opens fire with a semi-automatic, this community is blown apart.

After the event, a dialogue unfolds between Claire and a young man.

She is unpacking her rage, her fears, and ultimately some hope.

The young man is something else: the voice of the alienated, an enemy within, a lost generation.

The Events is a play by David Greig, a co-production with Belvoir, Malthouse Theatre and State Theatre Company of South Australia.

Greig was impelled to write The Events in response to the violence unleashed on July 2011 by Anders Behring Breivik, who shook Norway to its core by turning a Workers Youth League (AUF) summer camp on the island of Utoya into a bloodbath, having first detonated a car-bomb outside government buildings in Oslo.

Breivik killed 77 people, and left 319 injured, many of them gravely.


ON STAGE: Johnny Carr and Catherine McClements in The Events.
ON STAGE: Johnny Carr and Catherine McClements in The Events. Lisa Tomasetti

The cast coming to Lismore is Johnny Carr as The Boy, Catherine McClements as Claire and pianist Carol Young.

Local ensemble Vox Caldera completes the list of people on stage.

Carr said the production is all ages and lasts 75 minutes with no interval.

He said the production triggers powerful responses in audiences.

"It's a beautifully written piece I think, it's trying to understand grief from a number of different angles and it throws up a lot of questions about why people would want to create these senseless acts of violence," he said.

"It doesn't offer clear-cut answers, but it shines lights on angles in these kind of events that we don't normally talk about."

"With the choir, having that many people on stage, the music is very moving and it almost works like a Greek chorus at times, interspersing between the drama.

"People are very moved by the piece, although it's a very simple production, but there is a real honest in its simplicity that people find quite moving."

Carr agreed that a play like this allows audiences to process daily acts of senseless violence that happen around the world regularly.

"It is a processing of sorts, and with the headlines in the news, even though we get as much information as we can have, ultimately in a lot of it the answers are underwhelming because, even though there is a reason, it doesn't make sense."

Is Clare, a priest, going to be able to make sense of the insanity of violence?