Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 9, No. 3. April 13, 1946

Unknown Octet Write Extrav., '46

Unknown Octet Write Extrav., '46

When R. L. Meek, Victoria's brilliant Extrav.-producing machine over the last eight years, declined to create another masterpiece for 1946, it was evident that no single man could assume the magic mantle thus left 'vacant. Instead, a group of eight gathered together, none of them feeling the light of genius on their brows, but all enthusiastic to see the tradition carried on. The result is imperfect, beyond a doubt, but lessons of former years have not been discarded lightly, and the gags, drawn from such diverse spots on the earth's surface as a brothel in Trieste, or an officers' club in Hongkong, are well up to standard.

The opus has taken the form of a political phantasy on the basis of another phantasy, Peter Pan. The authors, by the exercise of a little ingenuity and dramatic freedom, have been able to embody in the script most of the important personages and happenings in the world today. UNO figures large in the first act, with Windy Bevin playing a doubtful role as protagonist for peace, particularly within the British Empire, which, as one of the lyrics announces, "shows signs of fission."

The second act focuses attention on the scene in the Never Never Land, which, strangely enough, is intended to represent New Zealand. Hither Peter Pan has brought the main characters on the UNO stage, so that they may see how things are done in an enlightened democracy. Unfortunately, us often happens, the class does not want to show off in front of the inspector, and far from a peaceful, idyllic atmosphere, the gentlemen from UNO find themselves surrounded by pirates, headed by Captain Sidook, backed by the Associated Chambers of Horrors, poisoned election cakes, Commodiles and other gruesome paraphernalia which make UNO seem like a Sunday school picnic in comparison. From this point the action proceeds with many dramatic incidents and pointed allusions to the preservation of Peter's life by the activities of the Commodile, who gobbles up the Pirate Chief with obvious enjoyment.

At this juncture the story would not be complete without the interpolation of an atomic bomb, and accordingly the authors have allowed one to be introduced, but, unlike the real thing, this particular lump of uranium 235 is of a metaphysical nature and ushers in the third act, which purports to take place in Heaven. Here we have another Peter (but still saying Domin-i-on), who happens to be in possession of the keys. The rest of the plot will easily be discerned by the astute reader. Suffice it to say that the play ends with a rousing chorus which will allow the audience to go home with a feeling of satisfaction, and the cast to get to the backstage keg with a genuine thirst.