Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 8, No. 12. September 19, 1945
[Letter from E. Arya to Salient regarding the Drama Club]
Dear Sir,—As the letter in the last issue of Salient seemed more in the nature of a personal criticism than of the club as a whole, I am replying without waiting for the next meeting of the committee, who may decide to take further action.
The first criticism was that I had turned away a promising fresher because she belonged to a down town club. The kindest thing I can say of your correspondent is that her protege had misunderstood any conversation on the subject. At the annual general meeting a motion was passed including the drama club in the rule which declared that members who took part in outside clubs when needed by a Varsity club were not to play in any representative team. Though theoretically this would be a blessing to us, in practice we are so short of people that we welcome anyone prepared to help. Anyone who is interested in our club and familiar with our policy knows that this is the only attitude we would have on the subject. The only time that the activities of any member was limited in our club because of membership in a town club was in British Drama League entry. The reason was that B.D.L. rules state that no one person may play in two teams. Besides, as "Old Identity" states aspiring actors should not be limited to one club, but should try to get as much experience as possible.
Anyway, it is not the fault of the few who play down town that the club is not flourishing. It is rather the fault of the other 1,000 odd students who leave the activities of the College to an overworked few. "Doing a play" takes up all one's spare time for the duration of the play, and means that those taking part have to neglect other activities. Naturally those with responsibilities have to refuse to take part, leaving us with the minimum number necessary to carry on. My point is that the minimum is not enough. How can we carry out our ambitious programme when the failure of one person means the falling through of a play? Every sports team must have emergencies—we have none. People are quite ready to walk in to a ready-made club and take parts, but they won't help us to build it up by standing by, ready to step in even if they have no parts straight away.
I consider a personal attack quite unprovoked, as I have consistently failed to receive even a minimum of interest and co-operation from those whom there was every right to expect it. How can we train new people through readings when members only attend the meetings they happen to be in? How can we invite outside speakers when we are uncertain of the audience they will have? We hesitate to repeat the experiment when last year Mrs. Lloyd lectured on make-up to an audience of four. We finally decided that we could at least train producers, and left the choice of players to them, deciding that it was natural that, at first, they would need the most experienced cast possible.
Of necessity our club must be merely a training ground, because just as members get some experience they leave Varsity, and the club is at scratch again. Therefore it is no good asking us to offer something to our members unless they are prepared to co-operate in the responsibility as well as the fun of running a club. We have a unique opportunity to do some worth-while dramatic work. We don't depend on a box-office, and our audience is responsive to something other than drawing-room comedies.
We can achieve something, and will if there is constructive criticism made to the club and not in the corners of the common. Come and give it to us. We can take it.
—I am, etc.,
E. Arya, Secretary, Drama Club.