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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 15, No. 14. July 24, 1952

T.C. Do "The First Born"

T.C. Do "The First Born"

Following their habitual line of presenting a rather unusual programme, the Training College performed the "First Born," by Christopher Fry, a tragedy which deals with the struggle between Moses and the Egyptian Pharaoh Seti. The producer was Zenocrate Mountjoy.

From a dismal beginning the play slowly jolted into motion and by the end, owing mainly to the efforts of Roger Harris as Moses, was running fairly smoothly. His deep resonant voice, graceful and expressive gestures and above all his supreme dignity were all that could be desired.

Oriole Whitlock's performance as Anath suffered from her too restricted arm movements. Her sole gesture was a kind of pressing down of her arms at her sides. She seemed to have trouble too with expressing [unclear: motion]. At times she had the [unclear: el"] of the play perfectly, but at [unclear: others], especially in the first scene, she seemed to lose 'control of the situation and to supplement emotion by looking haughty and Egyptian.

All the actors spoke very clearly, but both Seti (Tony Courtney) and Miriam (Margaret Perry) seemed completely unable to modulate their voices to any fineness of feeling. The worst feature of the speaking was the tendency to recite by Rameses (John Curtis). There is nothing more horrible to watch than an actor standing dutifully waiting with an expectant look on his face counting the lines until he has something to say. Incidentally, an almost adolescent voice from a grey-bearded Aaron came as a rather astonishing shock.

A disappointing feature was the costuming. Seti's clothes in particular seemed awkward and ungainly to fit a Pharaoh of Egypt. They did nothing to give him any grace of movement and case on the stage. Rameses suffered from the same trouble. He was wearing a kind of white shirt, which looked as if he had forgotten to take off his singlet, and a "scruffed-up" piece of material hung from his waist accentuating his awkwardness and general lack of ease to an extent than was often painful.

The sets were truly Egyptian, giving a very real feeling of fresh air, space and coolness, contrasted with the heat outside.