Salient. The Newspaper of Victoria University College. Vol. 20, No. 8. September 14, 1956
The wide choice of plays chosen made an interesting two evenings in the theatre. But unfortunately only one play came anywhere near a satisfying production. The winning play was CUC's "The Utile Stone House," by George Calderon—the only one act play in the festival. It is a tragedy in a pesudo-Chehovian style, concerning a mother who has worshipped her supposedly dead son. He returns from Siberia and the mother's dream is shattered. It was well acted and thoroughly deserved the winning place.
AUC performed the Prologue to Act II and the Epilogue to "The Insect Play" by the brothers Capek. It was performed creditably and with high spirits and the satire and comedy were brought out well and kept the audience interested.
VUC's version of "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof" by Tennessee Williams was called "foolhardy and lacking in discretion." Mr. Newman, the adjudicator, continued that "the play is extremely difficult and would tax the skill of the most experienced players and director—here the situations wore so beyond the grasp of the players that the tragedy was received with laughter by a sympathetic audience," John Archibald played with "splendid intensity" and Heather Scott with "good pace," though they were unable to convey the deeper emotions of the characters they were portraying.
Otago started off by acting the "Don Juan in Hell" scene from Shaw's "Man and Superman;" then the four actors manoeuvred themselves behind four short pillars and started reading their parts. The audience began to lose interest as the play was not well read, and when an actor turned over a page his voice was lost amidst the audience's laughter.
In all a disappointing festival. The highlight of the week was seeing in rehearsal Ngaio Marsh's production of "King Lear" for CUC Drama Society. The first half was truly ex-Citing theatre reaching a magnificent climax in the storm scenes. Good luck to the cast for what should be a memorable production.—L.D.A.