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A CurtainUp London Review
We start with a young man, an Aboriginal boy witnessing the arrival of an early fleet in Australia bringing with it "class and religion and disease". Knowing what we do now in terms of the subjugation of the native Australian culture, the advice to the Aboriginal boy would have been to kill them all. So this advice merges into what we know as The Events with a priest Derbhle Crotty questioning her belief and relating her interactions with the young man (Clifford Samuel). Slowly it becomes clear that Clifford Samuel is playing many different roles in this kaleidoscope of small scenes contributing piecemeal to our attempt at understanding.
The play is challenging as we slowly start to pick up fragments of the story. Each night a different community choir will sing the music and speak some of the parts and the speech may be patchy but the singing will be inspiring. We are told that some of Claire's multicultural community choir were killed. We are given some right wing, anti-immigration politics. "Empathy impaired" is the expression used to describe the young man. Is he mad or is he evil?
The Norwegian coffee song the choir sings is a clue as we remember the terrible tragedy when right wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people in 2011.
Derbhle Crotty is Claire, a priest who has lost her soul. She is also a Lesbian and she has some responsibility in the upbringing of the boy, but I was lost as to exactly how in this enigmatic and confusing play. Clifford Samuel plays many roles, changing seats to show a new character.
While The Events may confuse, it also stimulates real debate as we seek to understand what caused the events, those seemingly random acts of murder that grab the newspaper headlines.
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
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