Catherine McClements finds hope in darkness with Black Swan production The Events

Catherine McClements as Claire in The Events.
Catherine McClements as Claire in The Events.

DAVID Greig’s play The Events finds hope in darkness, which given the subject matter is not an easy task.

Set in the aftermath of a shooting at a local town hall where a community choir meets, the work blends theatre and music in a beautiful story about healing.

Black Swan State Theatre Company artistic director Clare Watson directed Catherine McClements (Water Rats, Rush) and Johnny Carr in the work two years ago for audiences in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide and has brought her two-hander cast to Perth for a season at Studio Underground from June 21 to July 8.

Melbourne-based McClements plays vicar and community choir leader Claire, who must deal with her emotions after the event.

“The play is a moving and humane way at looking at what’s on the front cover of the newspaper and what people are afraid of and don’t really know how to respond to,” McClements said.

“I think it’s a piece of theatre responding to that anxiety in society and that’s what theatre’s for, for us to come together as a community and contemplate things.

“For me it’s a beautiful contemplation with a great sense of joy in the idea of community.”

This notion of community is brought on to the stage quite literally, with a different Perth community choir at each performance who are sent the music but not the script.

“They turn up an hour before and we give some of them a little acting part,” McClements said.

“They are on stage the whole time and watch the play. They know there are cues and the director tells them when to stand up and sing, and Johnny and I sometimes talk to them directly.

“They sit behind the action, so the audience watches them watching as well. I think the process for the audience is in a way like watching themselves watch the play. We’ve had choirs gasp and cry but they’re usually very still and very engaged. That makes the dynamics of the play.”

THE ESSENTIALS

What: The Events

Where: Studio Underground

When: June 21 to July 8

Tickets: www.bsstc.com.au