Why do people commit extreme acts of violence? How do those impacted deal with the aftermath of that violence?? What is the nature of forgiveness? In the case of David Grieg’s play The Events the questions are personified in the character of Claire, a priest and choirmaster who confronts her own “faith-shattering act of violence” as New York Times reviewer Ben Brantley puts it.
Since the Norwegian events that inspired this play there have been 18 mass shootings in the United States including Sandy Hook and the most recently, Las Vegas. There have been 5 mass killings in Canada including the shooting at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Quebec where six people were murdered while they prayed.
Against this backdrop of hatred and violence, love and compassion are played out daily. Unfortunately, acts of selflessness go largely unreported. The old reporters adage “if it bleeds it leads” is still true today. It’s sad because if more attention was paid to our empathetic nature, perhaps the resulting echo could act as a ballast to keep us psychologically afloat. But today, as horrific “information” is thrust upon us to the point of saturation. it’s not surprising that a large number of people across the planet live with a kind of collective trauma.
The Events brings together bold theatricality, dynamic storytelling and community choirs from around Metro Vancouver to ask the question: is it possible to find peace, forgiveness, and love in the wake of incomprehensible violence?
Written by David Greig, The Events features Claire, a priest and choir leader who has survived a mass shooting. Shattered and bereft, she looks for answers that may lead to some kind of affirmation of hope and faith. In this soul-searching work, the presence of the choir represents the most beautiful aspects of our shared humanity.
Pi draws on community choirs from the Metro Vancouver area for participation; each performance, a different choral group shares the stage with the show’s two actors. This work of art about a community torn apart is an act of community engagement, prompting discussion as well as catharsis. In its compassion, its inclusivity and its spirit of inquiry, The Events is an act of resistance—an act of love.
Pi Theatre is proud to feature the following choirs in TheEvents
- The Kitchen Singers, under the direction of Mishelle Cuttler
- Lynn valley Singers, under the direction of Frank Chu
- Unitarian Church of Vancouver Choir, under the direction of Donna Brown
- Vancouver City Singers, under the direction of Holly Denney
- St.Paul’s Church Choir, under the direction of Michael Molnar
- Vostok and Friends, under the direction of Aliya Griffin & Emily Villavicencio
- Woodward’s Community Singers under the direction of Leslie Bol
- Cyrilika Slavic Chamber Choir under the direction of Emilija Lale
- Sarabande Chamber Choir under the direction of Shane Raman
- Local Vocals!, under the direction of Anna Baignoche
- Coquitlam Celebration Choir, under the direction of Jonathan Wiltse
- Soundscape Chorus, under the direction of Charlie Metzger
Singing is good for you in so many ways! Doing what you can do well brings you joy. Singing brings you joy and great health benefits too. You breathe and manage your breath, you create beautiful tones and resonate the vibrations throughout your body. The endorphins flow and your whole body smiles. Many say that time singing adds to your lifespan, and it surely doesn’t make you older.
The future is ours to imagine
Here’s a something to risk: what if you were to want something to change, or to come into existence, or to grow and flourish within our cultural scene? And then you set out to do everything you could to be an agent of change and to help make it happen, because the sense of loss and despair you feel when imagining the opposite is too great. And five, ten, or thirty years later your worst fears are realized. The future is not what you imagined, not what you strived so hard for; it turns out not to be the case.
Could you live with such a loss and sense of failure? Could you live with that world? Could you live in such a city? In what are unquestionably challenging times, this is the real risk swirling around the question of Vancouver in 2050. The future is now. It is within our reach. The future is ours to imagine and to fashion.