The Events, by Scottish dramatist David Greig, was written as a response to the shooting attack on a youth camp in Norway in 2011 that took 77 lives. It seeks to explore how the community searches for compassion, forgiveness, peace and understanding in the wake of an unspeakable act. The play sets the anguish and pain of a survivor of a mass shooting against the consoling presence of a choir.
A different community choir sings at each performance. ENCORE! is singing in the final preview and on opening night. In addition to singing throughout the 90-minute play, ENCORE! will present one of its own arrangements before the show begins.
Tickets can be purchased through The Guthrie's website. Mention "CHOIRS" at the box office and get 50% off your ticket.
Press for The Events
From the St Paul Pioneer Press: "The congregation will be played during the Guthrie run by several different choirs -- on opening night, it was an ensemble of 20 or so from the Twin Cities Women's Choir -- who sing half a dozen songs and play supporting roles in the proceedings…. About that choir, though. They're lovely and the women dive gamely into their roles as foils for the two leads.… [T]hroughout the show, the choir on stage functions as a tangible reminder that, although human beings are capable of violent and inexplicable behavior, we can also come together to create beauty and peace."
From Classical MPR: "The presence of these members of our community (at the Friday night performance I saw, the participants were the Encore ensemble of the Twin Cities Women's Choir) on stage is a constant reminder that the victims of these atrocities are ordinary, unsuspecting people. They could be any of us, or our loved ones. The music, composed by John Browne and overseen by musical director Joe Bunker, ranges widely—as the repertoire of any community choir might—from hymns to a jaunty Norwegian coffee song. The singing serves as both source music (that is, music that's part of the story) and score, providing an emotional undercurrent to playwright Greig's kaleidoscopic look at an act of unspeakable violence."
From the Minneapolis Star Tribune: "We are met on a bare stage set with risers, a table with coffee and teapots and cups, a piano. The choir greets us with a smiling rendition of the song 'There’ll Be a Change in Me.'" (That was ENCORE!) Further: "The choir periodically participates with the actors, reading lines from their scripts — a guileless community theater convention that breaks down the wall between stage and audience, and feels very downtown hip. It’s a lovely, earnest combination."
From the City Pages: "During its run, the play will be filled with a rotating cast of guest choirs, which do more than act as a Greek chorus, commenting on the action. On opening night, it was Encore, a small ensemble of the Twin Cities Women's Choir, providing a pure emotional uplift amid the spiritual horrors."
From Joe Bunker of The Actors Touring Company, Musical Director of The Events: "We’ve had all-female groups, all-male groups, church groups, university groups, theatre groups and pop-up choirs, singing everything from gospel to Carole King, from barbershop to Bach. One of my favourite musical moments of this trip was when Aerosmith’s ‘Walk This Way’ burst unexpectedly from the middle of a 1930s close harmony number."
ENCORE! can be heard in The Guthrie's video promoting the remainder of the run of The Events.