The Spike: or, Victoria College Review, October 1908
"And what a levelling ceremony it is! None of your plays or concerts or functions orchestral where a talented few do everything."
The Official Ceremony.
The official Capping took place on the afternoon of Thursday, 25th June, in the Town Hall, which was filled in the gallery by students, and down stairs by their numerous friend; and admirers. By comparison with previous ceremonies, the proceedings were considerably improved by the absence of senseless noise producers, and from the fact that there were none of those prolonged interruptions which can never be accused of being humorous. The Hon C. C. Bowen who presided, opened the proceedings with a short address and was followed by Mr. J. W. Joynt who read the list of graduates with his accustomed air of impressive dignity. The diplomas, other than one or two which the University authorities had managed to leave at home, were then presented to the graduates. Mr. Fleming spoke on behalf of the College Council and Professor Adamson for the Professorial Board the latter on rising was presented with a bouquet of carrots and other vegetables, a token of esteem from a former chairman of the Board. The proceedings closed with a wail from K. F. O'Leary on his impending bankruptcy due to the extortionate fees charged for his diploma, and on some matters which the students wished to bring under the notice of the authorities.
The usual public entertainment was given on the evening of Capping Day in the Concert-Chamber of the Town Hall, and was as 'interesting as could be expected when all is considered. The Carnival of 1907 was remarkable for two reasons, firstly, because preparation for it was left later than ever before, and secondly because it was easily the best entertainment ever given by the College. Such an unusual combination of events page 36 was very satisfactory at the time, but the evil results are now becoming apparent. This year's chorus practices were begun in fair time, but the performers in the musical comedy were not in possession of their parts until within about ten days of the performance. Much thus was lost in indecisive treating with former authors, who had definitely announced their intention. to do nothing, but were nevertheless persecuted by the committee with a persistence worthy of a better cause, and had not the Hogben brothers stepped into the breach the matter might still have been under consideration. In fact, the present system is quite unfair to performers, authors, and public alike, and it is high time for the Students' Committee to seriously consider the whole question. If the Annual General Meeting is not held early enough to enable the new committee to deal satisfactorily with the problem, it should be attended to by the out-going Executive.
Lankshear was once more in his element with the conductor's batón, and his efforts were ably seconded by Miss Clachan, who presided at the piano. Mr. A. W. Newton very kindly devoted two evenings to coaching the principals in stagecraft, but the absence of Miss Smith or someone to take general control of proceedings as she did last year, was a distinct drawback to the success of what few rehearsals were held.
Part I of the programme was of the usual varied nature, comprising items ranging from the vocal villainies of a nigger troupe to the artistic efforts of soloists whose names would adorn any concert programme. The general choruses were not ren lered with anything approaching the full-voiced enthusiasm one expects from such a body of students. The Glee Club tunefully revived the ancient query anent one Sylvia, and certain of its members relieved their pent souls by delivering two part songs with pleasing effect. Miss Strack and Miss Newman were in excellent voice and met with a hearty reception. Mr. A. W. Newton was exceedingly amusing with several well-told anecdotes. The Niggers gave a bright and breezy turn, and made quite one of the hits of the evening. The Maori haka was not as successful as has been the case in former years. The Esprida Corps, a trio of well-known performers who wasted time between items, were believed to have something good on their programme, but if so it had not appeared by the time they were ejected by the irate secretary.
Part II was occupied by the presentment of "South Sea Bubbles," a comic opera in three acts, in which recent happenings in connection with the Arbitration Act were cleverly burlesqued. Several incidents of local significance also received page 37 the attention of the authors, G. M. and J. McL. Hogben who are to be heartily congratulated on the success of their incursion into the realms of the playwright.
The plot of the piece rests on the wanderings of Professor Watt-Buncombe through New Zealand in his search for a perfect social system. This he ultimately finds in the Socialism of Dr. Phin Leigh, a local politician. In the first act his doings are watched with interest by a baud of Auckland Press reporters. The second act finds him in "Daihape" on the Main Trunk line where he meets Adam, a labourer, who has been working there for thirty years, and Dr. Phin Leigh. He accompanies the latter to Wellington, which is the scene of the third act, and assists him to quell a strike of the local professors. Needless to relate the Professors return to work, Professor Watt-Buncombe finds his ideal system and everybody "lives happily ever after."
As Mrs. Watt-Buncombe, Miss D. Isaacs had little to do and did it well; whilst D. N. Isaacs made the hit of the evening as Adam. The heavier parts of Professor Watt-Buncombe and Dr. Phin Leigh were taken by A. H. Bogle and G. R. Hutchison respectively, and in view of their limited opportunities for rehearsal they did well enough.
The annual supper in honour of the graduates of the year was held in the large Town Hall. As a social function the affair can only be remembered as a dismal failure. The toast list seemed longer even than usual and was certainly no less tedious. The great majority, who wish to dance, are wearied to desperation by the speeches, and the few who do listen with any degree of interest have heard the same old tales scores of times before, and could well forego their pleasure. The toasts of the King and the graduates are acceptable as befitting the occasion, but all ensuing speeches are quite unnecessary and should be abolished forthwith. The actual food arrangements of the supper could well stand pruning also. Fifty pounds was the price of this year's extravagance. If dancing were started immediately on conclusion of the main performance, a light supper could be served in an interval at half the expense, and, if the affair could only be kept free of orators, with much more enjoyment to all concerned.
Time bath an art to make an end of all things, and on conclusion of the festivities dancing was pursued in the Concert Chamber until about 3 a.m.page 38