We’re All Here
by Leslie Hill (far left)
UCV’s Chalice Choir spent an exhilarating evening Friday night (January 19, 2018) on stage in The Events, by David Greig, a play about a lesbian priest’s journey through the trauma of surviving a mass shooting that kills everyone else in the community choir she directs. Despite the darkness of the subject matter, the play is ultimately redemptive. The cast involves two actors and a choir – a different choir every night. Singers are required to learn the music and discouraged from reading or seeing the play in advance. The first ‘practice’ with the actors comes an hour before the audience arrives.
It’s unnerving, to say the least.
“You’re not supposed to act,” Richard Wolfe, the director, told us. “We want you to focus on the performance on stage just like the audience. You’re a kind of Greek chorus.”
Fair enough. I’m certainly no actor; in fact I was so mesmerized by the play, I didn’t even realize until the last scene that I’d been on the edge of my chair the whole night. Luisa Jojic as Claire, and Douglas Ennenberg as the Boy were riveting. Doug Ennenberg, of course, is one of UCV’s own, but I doubt any of us was prepared for the sense of menace he exuded, or his extraordinary and raw physicality. He also portrayed a psychiatrist, the Boy’s father, a school friend, Claire’s partner, and a politician, shifting easily from one character to another. Luisa Jojic, a veteran actor from Bard on the Beach, was brilliant as the anguished survivor, a priest who has lost her faith, and is searching fruitlessly for answers. Under the supervision of Mishelle Cuttler, the production’s music director, we sang our own opening number and the seven songs that are part of the play on cue. In the last scene, we moved out and filled the stage to sing directly to the audience, ‘We’re All Here’, a community choir, participants and observers both. I teared up. It was an extraordinary night and a wonderful privilege.
Now I need to go back and see another night with a different choir.
The Events plays in the Russian Hall until January 28 as a part of Vancouver’s Push Festival.