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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 33, No. 2 4 March 1970

Drama Society

Drama Society


Bill Evans' articles in Salient have never been the products of rational analytical consideration. His previews and reviews have always been inspired by the particular whim or humour he feels at the moment of writing and nothing more. So it is that the same superficial style which last year said Gbosts at Downstage was very nice can unscrupulously say that Paul Holmes has wrecked the Drama Society.

The major portion of his latest effort attempts to prove this and he proffers some valid arguments. But, dear Bill, you are not the only one who can look at 1969 objectively;! can too.

The New Look Drama Committee was elected to intensify dramatic activity within the University. Simple as that. What we were too immature to realise was that those who lead violent revolutions of this nature are not necessarily the mature organisers and that is what the Drama Society lacked last year. Wasn't it you, Bill, who stood up at what was meant to be a Drama Society discussion and demanded "Mr President! If you don't call a meeting of the Drama Society Committee now, giving all present speaking rights, I shall resign!"? But where were you when it came to re-election? Dear ineffectual Bill.

Speaking broadly, I admit that I and my committee failed in our objective; basically we did not realise the often insurmountable difficulty of communicating to members, students and the general public. I admit that as a President I was very, very inexperienced for such a job. Further, some of the fire departed the spirits of many of the Committee and that left us with passengers, but I am not a politician so I shall not go further here. There is no point.

We were amazed by the apathy within the Society and amongst students generally. You, Bill, although most vocally critical were one of the most apathetic. So if one-way communication seemed impossible, the establishment of a two-way conversation seemed a pipe-dream. This two-way situation between a committee and its members is the only way of fulfilling our original objective for only with active co-operation between both bodies can a group of individuals explore what is becoming a very vital ray in the vast spectrum of Art.

Another reason for our apparent lack of stamina was the simple physical fact that the Theatre was fully booked the year before. The previous Committee had made very few bookings and we were virtually powerless.

Yet despite all this we still did more actual production work than the 1968 Committee; and I can prove it if need be. Zoo Story went to Downstage not because of the personal honour and glory but because it took the University Drama Society out to the public, brought credit to the Society as a whole and because there was a chance of giving it a season at Varsity. Dear Bill always forgets (or chooses to) The American Dream—another full scale production with a student producer. Once again, no Theatre available.

The breakdown of communications which occurred during the rehearsals of Christmas Revue was a breakdown between Dave Smith and me—Not between the producer and the Drama Society. Had this been so the show could not have been the success it was. The statements of mine quoted in Bill's article were said to Dave — not behind his back — during a row between the two of us. Knowing our incompatibility could wreck the show I allowed other Committee members to do the job. I was not being irresponsible — I merely knew that they would see that things were done. And while I have no quarrel with Dave and appreciate his viewpoint I am disappointed that he would spread petty shit for two months and let Bill Evans do his athletic stint of jumping firmly and securely onto the Bandwagon.

Last April we were angry and we tried idealistically to change the level of activity of the Drama Society. In December Dave Smith was angry. And to be angry is to care. Bill Evans' excursions into this emotion are only half-way trips of self-righteousness and indignation and alas he seems to be able to do so much damage in spite of this.

In 1970 we look forward to an Arts Festival and have promised to mount at least three major productions including a Shakespeare Festival as well as several readings. The promises are not the pipe-dreams of last April. They are promises of a Committee which has learnt the hard way how to run a Drama Society and is still very angry.

Paul Holmes

P.S. By the way, Bill, auditions are held monthly for Downstage — that's if you're interested.