Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 20, No. 3. 4th April, 1957
Hell and Home
Hell and Home
On a tiny stage, which intensified the dramatic qualities in the play. Unity performed with great success Jean-Paul Sartre's "Huis Clos", Three people were shown into a small room by a mysterious valet. Each realise that they are in hell, and arrive expecting fire and torture. Garcin is a coward, Estelle is a child-murderess, and Inez is a lesbian. We slowly discover why they are in Sartre's idea of hell. Each tell about their lives on earth, and the events which led up to their deaths. At the same time we realise that psychologically unable to live together. Inez is attracted to Estelle, Estelle to Garcin. Garcin hopes to make Estelle believe that he is not a coward, but he is thwarted by Inez who knows that Estelle only wants a man, and Garcin being the only man available, is prepared to say or believe anything.
In this room, furnished in the Second Empire style, where one cannot switch off the light, or close one's eves, or escape, the play ends as the three realise that "hell is other people", and they must live together for ever. The play has one of the most effective endings I know: the three break in to hysterical laughter. Suddenly they are quite, there is a pause . . . Then Garcin says, "well, let's go on".
Kenneth Akerman looked and acted as if he had stepped out of one of Graham Greene's novels—a seedy, grubby, and callous idealist, who when he has to come to grips with his ideals, has not the courage to face up to them. Natasha Tver as Inez was excellent. Casting aside my "cynical adolescent pose" and putting on a "starry eved" one I would say that her performance was the best piece of amateur acting seen in Wellington for a long time. The hardness of her voice the masculine gestures, and the walk were all perfectly done, and they were never allowed to drop for a second. She carries off the hardest scene where Inez tris to seduce Estelle, with the assurance of a professional actress. Unfortunately for the play Estelle was miscast, which tended to unbalance the production at times. It was well worth the trip to Drummond Street for the performances of Miss Ivor and Mrs. Akcrman.
"Starrv Eved again. (I hope that this is not getting too tedious). This time over the "Reluctant Debutante" by William Douglas Home. After a slow first scene the play picked up and became a delightful evening's entertainment.
It was an object-lesson for all amateurs and New Zealand Players in the art of timing, speaking and movement. I hope all members of Repertory noted the size of the stage that was used, it was very small.