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Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Student's Newspaper. Volume 31, Number 3. March 19 1968

Salient review criticised

Salient review criticised

Sir—'Who is Derek Melser?'

This is a question I asked you, Mr. Logan after reading the edition of Salient dated March 12, 1968.

'I don't know', you replied.

'Well, actually', said I, 'he's your drama critic!'

This conversation pinpoints a basic problem that the Drama Club is faced with in connection with Salient, namely, ineffectual reviewing.

Criticism is necessary but it must be well-founded and constructive and it must come from a person who has the knowledge to substantiate the criticism.

In the case of this last review your readers are faced with a superficiality that those who saw the play will find hard to credit as coming from one who must be considered as Salient drama critic.

I have no particular inclination to tear Mr. Melser's review to pieces bit by bit; it isn't worth the trouble. However I would like to point out to him that sarcasm is considered the weakest method of criticism and that, although one critic does not have to agree with facts and with other critics, I give him these thoughts to consider.

• That the script that he refers to as 'hapless' has had successful runs throughout Europe and England.

• That Russell Bond, Dominion Art Critic, considered this a play that should be seen.

• That on the night I saw the play the audience forced four curtain calls and wanted more.

I would like to congratulate Salient on last year's comprehensive film coverage. I see, from this issue, that some sort of effort is being made to provide a comparative coverage in drama. As there is a continual stream of productions through the year in Wellington this service, if it is maintained will be greatly appreciated. However it is no use putting inexperienced people on the job. The review will be recognized as the work of such a person and will be worthless. I have suggested to you privately that you approach downtown personalities if you cannot find the experience on the campus. You rejected the suggestion expressing a wish to keep your paper in student hands. I would point out to you that the Drama Club is also in student hands but in order to keep our standard as high as possible we endeavour to employ professional producers. In recognition of this endeavour we would appreciate a reciprocal move.

Chris Rosie,