Following its sold-out run in 2013, The Events return to the Young Vic questioning how far our humanity and forgiveness can stretch. Exploring what it is that makes us human and how we constantly test the boundaries of our humanity, David Greig’s provocative play returns to raise the questions we often try our best to avoid.
Claire, a priest running a choir for the socially vulnerable, survives an atrocity that throws her life into chaos. Constantly searching for the answer to why it happened, she questions life, what makes us human and how we treat each other in a modern society. All leading to the road of forgiveness, the question is how capable are we of forgiving the unforgivable?
The Events is a fragmented piece of storytelling, guiding us through a human tragedy piece by piece, chaotically and scrappily matching the scattering thought processes of a person in despair. Using only two actors, with one playing multiple roles, it forces your mind to stretch and actively work throughout to get the puzzle to fit. The story becomes clearer towards the end when all the pieces start to come together and we realise what has actually happened to Claire. Intensively played by Derbhle Crotty, she journeys through an array of emotions, questioning humanity with delicate feeling and pulse. Combined with Clifford Samuel’s The Boy and his impressive morphing into various characters, the two create an electrifying energy driving the piece throughout. They are joined by a community choir, different every night, creating a realistic set for Claire’s rehearsals and an interesting musical backdrop for the performance. It feels slightly like a community project at times, but at moments the musical repertoire strikes hard with its piercing and subtle notes underlining the text beautifully, making the hairs on your arms rise to the haunting words of David Greig’s thrilling writing.
The Events offers a daring and thought-provoking insight into our humanity and how we deal with the breaking of human values and morals. There’s a delicate line between humanity and animal instincts and we constantly throw ourselves back and forth across, testing each other and ourselves. With its sharp writing, The Events hits your brain hard and Ramin Gray’s direction is clear and bold, testing the intellectual and empathetic capacity of its audience. However the set seems a bit too stripped, clearly showing the ugliness of our reality but failing to stimulate the eye, and the layout of set and dramatic structure does seem messy and confusing. It doesn’t kick in until midway, but when it does the realisation hits you hard and you are drawn into the words, wit and tragedy of human capability. It’s not a piece you would see for the visual joy as a pleasant night out – but you are guaranteed a clever, sharp and witty night of exciting ideas on what makes us human and what our society is capable of.
The Events is playing at the Young Vic until 2 August. For more information and tickets, see the Young Vic website.