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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 11, No. 7. June 23rd, 1948

Drama Club Cooks Up One-Act Play Evening

Drama Club Cooks Up One-Act Play Evening

Take one good comedy, one stark drama, and one indifferent farce and place them in a stage the shape of the cook's hat. Wrap a couple of dozen of more or less competent players who do not know their lines in some inappropriate clothes and add them one by one. Tie the whole thing up with a curtain, but leave plenty of gaps. Simmer slowly under pale electric light, and keep some fuse wire handy. Serve the meal cold in three courses, each one garnished with one distracted producer. Charge 1/6 per head.

The V.U.C. Dramatic Society produced "Three One Acts" in the Gym on Friday, June 11. This annual function becomes worse every year; it is already worse than that of the Training College Drama Club. The general impression given is that neither the producers, nor the casts, nor the stage assistants are really keen on producing the plays.

Theodore Dreiser's "The Girl in the Coffin" is a good play, spoilt by too many long speeches. The arrangement of the stage made it all the more difficult for the actors. The long introductory sequence was tedious; in fact, there was really no dramatic intensity till Ferguson appeared. Paul Treadwell's performance in this part was the best of the evening. At a point when the play could easily have degenerated into melodorama, he alone was convincing. The only other performance worth mention was that of Dulcie Clifford as Mrs. Littig. With very few lines to say, she was the character who helped us to believe that there really was "A Girl in the Coffin."

The Bear

I have seen Tchekov's "The Bear" presented at V.U.C. before, with considerably more understanding of the characterisation. Smirnov is not a common ruffian; he is a gentleman with an ungovernable temper. Bill Sheafs performance would have been much more amusing if he had been told this and if his costume had looked less like Cary Grant preparing for a shave. He missed, a lot of laughs by not co-ordinating his actions with his lines. Gweneth Carr as Mme. Popova was suitably placid at the beginning, but her change to that state of divine intoxication called love was, to say the least, uninspired. The way these two continued, without prompt or light,'when the fuse was blown, deserves high praise.

Chris Pottinger, as Louka, was badly cast, but at least he knows what to do with himself on the stage. The cutting of the coachman and gardener at the end made the climax fall flat. Surely the producer and stage manager could have filled in here.

Poison, Passion . . .

A farce should be quick, slick, and overacted. Shaw's penchant for subtle wit detracts from his success in this kind of play, because too many of the laugh lines are lost when the characters are rushing round the stage.

John Little's production of Shaw's "Poison. Passion and Petrifaction" could be described as a qualified success. All the characters could have made more of their lines, except Erica Allison, who handled her small part as the landlady very well. Jim Young as George and Lindsay McDonald as Adolphus were competent but too much alike, and Nan Collins as Magnesia did not seem seductive enough to provoke even a melodramatic murder.

The supper was competently served.

A. O. McLeod.