Salient. Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 26, No. 7. Tuesday, June 18, 1963
Extravaganza '63 has produced many unfavourable reactions. Most agree that it has lost far too much money, and must not do so again. Some go so far as to demand it be abolished.
There appear to be two different assumptions in these attitudes. Some believe that Extravaganza is a public relations effort, and should be run as such. This implies that unless it has a good script, competent performers and a degree of polish it should not be allowed on stage.
The other view is that the purpose of Extravaganza is to give pleasure and satisfaction to those who take part. Other student groups receive encouragement, financial and otherwise, from the Student Association. The question often asked is "Why should those who wish to produce a revue be judged by different rules?"
These ideas are obviously irreconcilable. The first leads to a demand for the abolition, or substantial revision, of Extravaganza. The second leads, at most, to a demand for better financing.
To decide who is right it is necessary to consider the purposes of the Students' Association.
Are good public relations a purpose of the Students' Association? The answer is no. They are a means of fulfilling a purpose, but they are not a purpose in themselves.
The most fundamental purpose of any Students' Association is to foster and protect the interests of students, both individually and as a body. If students wish to form groups or societies to organise ski-ing, debating or chess, the Association rightly helps them do so. And when students ask for assistance in producing a revue, the Association should also help them do so.
It should assist by providing efficient organisation, perhaps by calling a meeting of those interested now. A script needs to be ready early.
There remain the vexing questions of public relations and finance. How important are they?
What, for instance, are the differences between the effects of a badly-produced revue, a badly-organised procesh., a badly-edited Cappicade, a "badly-dressed" or "badly-behaved" student? All these things make us less acceptable in public eyes, and they have all been with us since time immemorial. They are often the result of people being judged by values which they personally do not accept.
Finance should be a little easier to deal with. The financial problem is a result of staging the show on a scale not justified by receipts. Common sense tells us that it should be staged on a much smaller scale in future, probably in our own theatre. We could spend less on rent, less on labour, and less on badly-placed advertising. The revue could still justifiably be run at a small loss, provided it was a student show. This would mean a complete purge of the non-student elements now dominating it.
Obviously all the headaches produced by Extravaganza could be solved by abolishing it. One effective cure for a headache is to kill the patient! In this case it is not in the best interests of the students or the Students' Association.
Reorganisation should be sufficient.—D.P.W.