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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 11., No. 9. 28th July 1948

The Hounds of Spring on Winter's Traces

The Hounds of Spring on Winter's Traces

After a long hibernation, punctuated by a few shoots that were soon nipped in the bud, it seems Drama in this College is ready to bloom. In fact the first few tender Petals are opening slowly, shyly, and with a great deal of circumspection. Not only in the Drama Club but also in the Literary Society is this phenomena to be heard and seen. Last Wednesday, 14th, there was presented, for the benefit of a large (comparatively) audience, a reading of Thos. Kyd's "Spanish Tragedy," by the Literary Society.

These readings provide amusement and are of great benefit to all students, and John Thompson is to be congratulated in presenting them. "The Spanish Tragedy" is certainly a harrowing story, concerning the death of Hieronimo's son, Horatio and Hieronimo's subsequent seeking of revenge, By the time the play is finished, bodies lie scattered over the stage in true Elizabethan style. Although the Literary Society could not recapture the true tragedy in a reading, the play was, on the whole, well done. The performance was a great improvement on the last reading, where there was no action. Undoubtedly actions do give the audience a better idea of the play, as well as providing more amusement. We are glad to see that the Literary Society will be producing more of these readings of Elizabethan plays, for they are well worth seeing and hearing.

Original Play

Once more the Drama Club has ventured into the one-act play world, but with much more success than last month's effort. On Friday, 16th, we saw presented readings of three one-act plays written by students of the college: John Little, Harry Evison, and Lindsay MacDonald.

John Little's hors d'oeuvre was a strange mixture of Oedipus, a taste of Ibsen, a dash of T. S. Eliot and a faint aroma of Edgar Allen Poe. The plot, as far as I could gather, concerned Joe whose father had married, for the second time, a particularly nasty piece of work, who spent her time driving her step-daughter crazy. While she is about her sadistic practices one day Joe enters and (in righteous wrath) kills his stepmother, who in her dying breath, vents a terrible curse that all the first-born of Joe's loins and thence forward, will be mad. All this conveniently happens in the past and when the play opens we find Joe married, with a partly mad daughter and an even madder grand-daughter. To eradicate the evil the doctor decides to reconstruct the scene of the curse. In the ensuing melee Joe's wife kills her (and Joe's) granddaughter then Joe kills his wife before she manages to kill his daughter. When the bodies had been swept up it turns out that Joe's homocidal wife was none other than his stepmother's daughter by her first marriage, hence we may draw the moral "Don't meddle with Fate." Paul Treadwell as the mad grand-daughter was the crowning triumph of the play.

The piece de resistance was Harry Evison's short play which dealt with the intellectual Red student, who although he supported revolution when it came to a show-down was not prepared to fight for his ideals. It is a play that may well apply to many of the communistically inclined students to be found around the universities today: those who cannot face the true meaning of their beliefs." Mr. Evison's is a worthy attempt to show up this type, and in Hank, the main character, he succeeds. We see Hank, the man who would rather play Beethoven (which in his opinion was the solution of all problems) than fight, faced by the spectacle of two rebels righting for their lives. The rebels, too, give a real impression. But perhaps the best character is Sue, who has the courage to stick and fight for her beliefs, despite her fondness for Hank. The point of view set forward by the play is a new one and a realistic one, yet Mr. Evison ignores the old advice that is still true: "Whatsoever things are just, pure and of good report, think on these things."

I applaud the decision of the Drama Club to present this play at Tournament. It has advantages, in that it was written in the college, has real dramatic value, and plenty of scope for real acting. For Tournament it will be produced by Gilbert Johnstone, but the cast has not yet been decided on.

Lindsay MacDonald's play was also good. It dealt with the situation under the iron heel of occupation. The plot concerns the position of a pseudo patriot who turns informer for the Gestapo, around this the whole story revolves. For a play written in this sheltered little corner of New Zealand this shows considerable dramatic knowledge and Mr. MacDonald is to be congratulated on his effort which, although it has its faults, is really an excellent play.

Major Production

News of Major Production: Rehearsals are well under way and the cast consisting of Paul Treadwell. Baska Goodman, Betty James, Pat Hutchings, Aren Barclay and Lindsay are confident of a Major Production that will outclass any seen so far from V.U.C. Drama Club. The support of all students is needed if this production is going to be the success we hope it will be. Remember and tell your friends it' is "I Have Been Here Before" and will be at Training College Hall on August 6 and 7.

A shilling and a free clean to anyone who can predict accurately what the Price Tribunal's decision will be on the mooted increase in tram fares. Unless someone's got a double-headed penny, the public stands to lose both heads and tails.

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Some thinker said recently that people go to newspapers primarily' for information. Practising pen-pushers laughed hollowly, while deceased scribes, pharisees and hypocrites twirled in their gaves and emitted strange mumbling noises.