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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 7, No. 3. May 3, 1944

The Dead do Awaken — Extrav is Reborn

The Dead do Awaken

Extrav is Reborn

Has V.U.C. at last arisen from its war-time stupor? There are signs of it, chiefly in that it is again producing a full-length Extravaganza. These primitive orgies, political satires, song and dance shows, pornographic pandemonia, whatever you like to call them, have sounded something like fairy-tales to those who have come to the College in the past two years. But now, at last, they are about to taste of the real nectar, in all its pristine glory.

They are going to learn the ancient but unwritten laws that regulate Extravs, and, even if they don't take part, many of them who come from the country are going to see one for the first time. Not, of course, that seeing a work of art such as this it anywhere near as pleasing as actually producing it, but it's the next best thing, as we hope the residents of Wellington realise next week.

Snappy Work

The history of this particular Extrav is rather exciting. When, about three weeks ago, "Salient's" reporter was asked to enquire about it, he could only report that Ron Meek had written a first-class show, for his own amusement as he said, and that nobody knew whether it would be produced or not. Next Monday morning he went up to the College, and plastered all over the notice boards he found gigantic notices informing him of a casting meeting the next Thursday. A full committee meeting was held on Tuesday night and preparations were got in train for all the varied aspects of the production, property, wardrobe, publicity tickets, Cappicades, etc., etc. But when we went to the casting meeting, we knew the show could not fail to be a success. Hundreds of willing, enthusiastic people filled the Gym, and the talent was so great that the casting committee had great difficulty in deciding between them.

Enthusiastic Workers

Particular rehearsals are dealt with on other pages of this issue. They differ in detail, but they have this in common; they all show an extraordinary spirit of co-operation amongst the whole cast if you take a glance around the Gym you will find students of every shape, size and description taking their part in the show. Arts students, science students, law students, T.C. students, freshers, graduates, swotters, loafers, etc., etc., are all to be seen rehearsing or singing or just sitting waiting to go on. It is probable that this Extravaganza will produce more cooperation among all the various sides of College life than anything else in the past two years.

For it is not only among the actual cast that this working in unity is so evident. There are dozens of other people whose part in the show is equally as important as that of the players themselves. Think of the property men, working every evening to make the stage complete, of the wardrobe mistress and her team, sewing away for dear life to get their dresses finished in time, of the financial controller always ready to assist, of the publicity squad writing scripts, arranging photos and sticking up posters. They have all been going ahead quietly behind the scenes, ensuring the success of the show. Remembering that all this work is voluntary, one is struck by the fine way in which everyone has buckled into his or her Job.

Co-operation at V.U.C.

In spite of the short time available in which to prepare the production, everything is going well to schedule. Rehearsals have been an outstanding success, and although difficulty has been experienced in getting rush Jobs done by outside people already short staffed, all serious obstacles have been overcome and "the show will go on."

Mr. Meek has pointed out that the presence of women in the cast has a very good effect on morale. Not only has it been possible to have impromptu dances during the tea interval, but they also give colour to the show, and make rehearsals pleasant social functions. (He also remarked on the number of romances that arise as a result. We make no predictions.)

To all appearances, the Extrav is not only going to be a great success as a show, but also it will act as an example to every member of the College how much can be done if we act as a body. If the University is to fulfill its true function, we must learn that, by co-operation, we can achieve a great deal more than we ever dreamed before. That such a spirit is alive in V.U.C. is evident from the greater activity shown this year by many clubs and organisations about the College. But the Extrav. has made it obvious to everyone.

Any students who have suffered disadvantage in regard to appointments to Jobs or anything else through excessive delay in publication of examination results or mailing of papers, please communicate this information to the Corresponding Member, N.Z. U.S.A., c/o Exec. Room, V.U.C.


May we present the Extravaganza and Capping Organisers. They were appointed at a meeting extraordinary of the Executive, called immediately after the discovery of a script.

Two days later a casting meeting had been held; a hundred scripts typed, cyclostyled and distributed; the Opera House booked; Cappicade started; properties collected; costumes organised; publicity undertaken; and all the hundred and one Jobs which make Capping Week possible pushed ahead.

The public (Including ourselves) are inclined to remember the cast alone. Let us here pay a tribute to the indefatigable team behind the scenes.

  • Extrav. Organiser: O. J. Creed.
  • Assistant Organiser: I. C. McDowall.
  • Grad. Ceremony Controller: J. Barr.
  • Undergrad. Supper Controller:
  • June Holmes.
  • Treasurer: J. Barr.
  • Business Manager: L. Starke.
  • Financial Controller: G. Edgar.
  • Cappicade Editor: Cecil Crompton.
  • House Manager: R. M. Daniell.
  • Stage Manager: H. Williamson.
  • Properties: Alec. McLeod.
  • Publicity: Hylton Burt, John Ziman.
  • Wardrobe Mistress:
  • Shirley Grinlinton.
  • Ballet Mistress: Moira Wicks.
  • Musical Director: Lynn Henderson.
  • Ticket Controller: M. Te Punga.
  • Social Controller: M. Eichelbaum.
Huddy Williamson, Ron Meek, Jack Barr (Treasurer).

Huddy Williamson, Ron Meek, Jack Barr (Treasurer).

Of this Impressive list perhaps two or three carry the greatest load of responsibility. We take a liberty with your feelings by presenting the photographs of a few of them.

A biographical note may also be of interest:

Stage Manager

The opening words of the producer, "I may be in charge at the moment but on the night you will take directions from Huddy Williamson." The Stage Manager is an important person. We went to see him. A slightly built, slightly bald, slightly self-conscious person flinched before our gaze. "Here are the answers to those embarrassing questions you asked me," he said. "Now go away. I'm shy, and I want to do some work."

Here are his notes: "Fresher in 1936; taken part in all Extravs since then. Stage Manager or assistant since 1939. Not conspicuously successful in failing degree; had B.Sc. forced on me in 1940.

Official excuse for presence at V.U.C. this year: none."

Message to cast: "Please! Avoid opening kegs on stage and tripping over thunder apparatus during love scenes."

Author and Producer

He is not as beautiful as the photograph would have you think. In fact, when we approached him (admittedly at a difficult moment) he was a man of terrifying mien, with a grim pipe and a green jersey.

"No, I am not shy," he answered. "These halls were first graced by my presence in 1934, and my first Extrav. was 'Brave New Zealand' in 1935.

" 'The Plutocrats,' in 1937, came from yonder flowing typewriter, as did a certain script in 1941. This latter was unfortunately banned.

"By 1939 I had completed an L.L.M., together with sundry scholarships. I dwelt in Hamilton, where I was not appreciated, from 1941 to '43 and flaber-gasted the farmers with excerpts from 'Johnalio.'

My hobbles are tramping and swimming, in which I have a blue or two.

And now for God's sake, stop this foolishness and get on stage! Act one, Please!" A difficult man, Mr. Meek!