SMAD. An Organ of Student Opinion. 1936. Volume 7. Number 10.
Dramatic Club in Serious Vein
At a time when memories of the last war are being submerged in the increasing tumult of new martial propaganda, the production of Sheriff's famous play is particularly appropriate, especially as most of us have no actual wartime recollections.
"Journey's End" is a psyschological study of the intelligent amateur soldier. Stanhope personifies the Public School man who accepts the war as an opportunity to gain laurels to lay at the feet of the girl he loves. Three years of Hell for the sake of tradition have made him a nervous wreck whose sole salvation lies inside a whisky bottle.
Raleigh, his boy prototype, idealizes Stanhope with all the ardour of school-boy hero worship. It is probable that in three years he would have become the "hard drinker" Stanhope is.
Trotter, stolid unimaginative, actually "putting on weight" in the front lines, endears himself to the audience with his amusing garrulousness and genuine liking for such homely things as "a nice 'otcup o' tea" and "'olly'ocks."
Osborne completes the quartet of principals, and represents the philosopher, in the war not from patriotic motives nor hopes of personal gain, but because the barbarity must be ended. His is the "war to end war," yet he somehow realises how futile the ideal is. When Stanhope observes that it was rotten for a worm if, thinking it were coming up, it was really going down, he says, "Yes, I expect that's the one thing worms dread." the one thing worms dread." This sums up the pathos Osborne sees in the war—all wars. Humanity fighting desperately through generation after generation towards a sublime yet indiscernible goal, secretly dreading lest it be heading downwards instead of towards the heights. He fears all war is degradation.
Production and Players.
Any performance by a young cast in the Gymn. can only hope to be impressionistic, which, however, forces the audience to use its imagination. The defects in the show were obvious, but in parts the atmosphere was captured and that the audiences were impressed was shown by their attentive and enthusiastic reception.' The setting contrived by I. Gow, P. Macaskill and H. Williamson was excellent and the "effects" amazingly realistic.
Austin gave a polished performance. His "Uncle" was sympathetic, manly, and dignified, while his engaging stage presence and the richness of a splendidly modulated voice gave him a personality which set a high standard for the rest of the cast.
Scrymgeour's Sergeant-Major, true to type was responsible for several highlights of atmosphere.
Gordon was out of his depth in the difficult role of Stanope, but he impressed with his sincerity.
Gow again demonstrated his flair for quiet comedy, and Watt, Hooper, Tossman and Hutton did good work with interesting roles.