Vancouver’s PuSh International Performing Arts Festival and Pi Theatre Present a Moving Play about Violence and Forgiveness

Image of Luisa Jojic and Douglas Ennenberg by Emily Cooper

A work of theatre is truly exemplary if audience members can leave the performance transformed and inspired to think more deeply about themselves and the world they take for granted.

The Events, a play presented by Pi Theatre and the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, is particularly timely in the new year, a period characterized by reflection and taking stock of the past.

The production marks the English Canadian premiere of David Greig’s play, The Events, and takes place from January 17 to 28, 2018 at the Russian Hall (600 Campbell Avenue).

Coverage of acts of violence frequently appears in news and social media, provoking considerable distress and questioning on the part of those within and outside of these tragedies. This play is set in the period after the murder of 69 people at a summer camp in Utøya, Norway, in 2011. It was the deadliest attack in Norway since WWII.

Instead of The Events focusing on the horribly violent incident itself, it directs its gaze at the aftermath and the making sense of this tragedy. The story revolves around a main character, Claire (played by Luisa Jojic), who, as a female priest and choirmaster, must grapple with the soul searching and unsettling of faith that come from trying to understand extreme violence. Can she still hold onto a sense of hope of love in the face of such devastation and hate?

Image of Luisa Jojic by Emily Cooper

The play has been mounted, to audience and critical acclaim, all around the world, such as in Norway, the United States, Australia, and South Africa. Accolades include being The Guardian’s #1 play for 2013, and receiving the Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award and the Scotsman Fringe First.

What makes The Events so compelling on a local level is the inclusion of a different community choir each night on stage, along with Jojic and Douglas Ennenberg, who plays the role of six other characters. Twelve different choirs, composed of over 220 members, will perform songs written for the play (musical score by John Browne), as well as ones that they will have chosen themselves. The singers represent the healing power of music, as well as the larger community dealing with the tragedy.

Image of Douglas Ennenberg by Emily Cooper

“Greig daringly explores our destructive desire to comprehend the unfathomable; asking how far forgiveness will stretch in the face of atrocity. He does so in the most brilliant way possible: by building a community every single evening. A choir on one side; an audience on another; each witness to and participant in the struggles of the actors between them,” explains director Richard Wolfe.

What will get created between audience members, actors, and singers will be intense, but also revelatory. A discussion will take place after every performance. VocalEye services will be available for both shows on January 27th.

Tickets and further information can be found on-line.

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