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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 27, No. 2. 1964.

Drama Production Unimaginative

Drama Production Unimaginative

Unimaginative directing marred the Drama Society's first production in 1964.

The producer could have made much better use of the players at his disposal. Irene Wood, as the girl in Tenessee Williams's "Suddenly Last Summer" at times carried the play by herself. But poor movement detracted from otherwise fine individual performances.

It should be realised that this play was probably a very difficult one to move, particularly since there was often only one person carrying the action. But the action was too repetitive. Time and again the girl would move across the stage, or down centre, always returning to her own little area.

"Suddenly Last Summer" is about Violet Venable's (Helen Sutch) unnatural relationship with her son. It focussed on her jealousy of her niece (Irene Wood) who replaced her in her son's attention. This jealousy emerges as an attempt to preserve her son's reputation.

But the girl insists on telling her story of how the son died, in the face of family opinion that she is insane, and her aunt's firm intention to have "that story cut from her mind."

There is also an underlying theme of greed. The earnest efforts of the nephew (Steve White-house) and his mother (Kristin Strickland) are aimed at persuading the girl to tell a different story. The aunt had a strong financial hold over them and they didn't want to upset her.

Best performance undoubtedly came from Irene Wood. She had feeling for the part, and certainly had the voice it required. But it is difficult to imagine what prompted the producer not to give her an american accent, when other members had distinct accents. If the producer (Maarten van Dijk) had difficulty making up his mind he could have dropped the accents entirely. The play could have succeeded without them.

Other simple mistakes distracted from the performance. The stage was centred on a rostrum with a table and a few chairs set out in straight line. Behind them was a backdrop lit for evening, while the players were telling us what a nice afternoon it was.