Tuesday, 22 October 2013

the events - in the audience

I saw the opening performance - first preview, rather than 'opening night', I think, whatever difference that makes - of The Events in its Young Vic run on Wednesday 9 October - the night after our last choir rehearsal night, but before our Super Sunday rehearsal.

It was good to see it as an audience member rather than a choir member. It didn't have the same impact as the dress rehearsal, of course, because it was the second time I'd seen it, but I did pick up more of it since I was able to concentrate on it rather than looking at the booklet to see where we were and thinking about our next bit. But from things said during later rehearsals, and in Neve's blog post about Dublin, there were also changes to the text in addition to those I'd actually noticed. I'd noticed, for example, that in the phase where Rudi plays several characters talking to Neve in succession that she gave a two-word intro at the start of each scene (the father, the journalist, the friend, the politician). The changing of the characters, and who Rudi was portraying now, was something that did take me a while to tune into in the dress rehearsal, and from comments after our performances (and some of the reviews) some people did still find it a bit confusing. But you could see that as adding to the theme of puzzlement, uncertainty, confusion in the play. In one interview I read or heard, rather than a review so it was I think an 'official' interpretation, part of the idea was that Rudi depicting all the other characters was partly communicating the sense that Claire was seeing The Boy in everyone. Another thing I only picked up from reading about it, I think, was that when Claire imagines killing a baby, she's imagining having killed The Boy at birth; I'd have got it eventually... The ending was more tense than I'd got the first time, re whether Claire was going to poison the boy or not, but again Neve's blog made me unsure how much of that I'd missed and how much was new.

The choir for that performance was the Morley Chamber Choir, from Morley College. They were good, but very polished; too polished for my taste, and certainly for depicting a 'community choir', but that's hardly their fault. Their own song was a spiritual from Tippett's Child of our Time, I think. (They wrote about it in their programme note; each night there was an insert in the programme telling a bit about that evening's choir.) Neve in her Dublin blog made a similar comment re some of the choirs sounding too professional; perhaps that's why they seemed to like Morris, we're not too good! It was interesting that at our dress rehearsal we got applause after our song, but they didn't; partly perhaps because it wasn't a song with a big finish that prompted applause, but I think more so that people weren't sure that they should applaud and because no one led off confidently then it didn't happen.

In a conversation on our first performance night, I think, Polina said that it was interesting the difference the choir made; for example, if it was a more professional-sounding choir singing something religious at the start then it seemed to draw out the religious/spiritual elements.

The only thing which I tipped off my fellow choir members about as a result of seeing it was that at the end during the applause and bows, Neve and Rudi turned to the choir and bowed, and the choir, possibly taken by surprise, didn't bow, and it looked a little odd; so I did say they would do this and we should be ready to clap.

Funnily enough, when I got to the theatre, about twenty past seven, Neve was outside, and I held the door open for her to come in behind me.