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The Spike: or, Victoria University College Review, September, 1922

Dramatic Club

page 59

Dramatic Club.

The Dramatic Club, still the youngest of College institutions, has outgrown its infancy and attained a healthy adolescence, and although small it is properly full of enthusiasm. It is truly satisfactory to see the preparedness of quite a number of students to spend a night every week with the Dramatic Club, a demand made by no other club providing purely intellectual entertainment.

We have been in occupation of the Gymnasium every Tuesday night throughout the long term. The practice of reading in the old Men's Common Room seems to have died out, and it is best so, for the happy-go-lucky arrangements of reading there undeniably resulted in careless reading, while the realisation of the conspicuousness of a person on the stage induces effort to do well in those who find themselves so situated.

Quite the best reading was that of "The Shadow," Eden Philpotts magnificent tragedy. The leading parts were Philip (Mr. Evans) and Hester (Miss Morr. peth). Mr. Rishworth was astonishingly good in an unexpectedly congenial part as Willes Gay, a South Country Butcher." Mr. Pim Passes By," was another unqualified success, the bright particular star being Miss Baldwin, as Olivia. Miss Bailey as Dinah did justice to a part which suited her perfectly, and Mr. Fair as Mr. Pim was—Mr. Pim.

The last play of the long term was also well done, and was a complete change from the modernities to which we had hitherto been confined. The play was "Garrick," written in 1868 and in a setting a century older. It is composed of uproarious comedy mixed with a drama amounting almost to melodrama. "Garrick" was Mr. Wiren's triumph. He re-created the odious Tom Tallyhaut and made him abominable beyond description. Mr. Evans, as Garrick himself, had a difficult part and did it well.

Other plays read were "The Younger Generation" (Stanley Houghton), "A Builder of Bridges," and "Press Cuttings"(Shaw). This last was so short that there was time to serve supper and allow disappointed dramaniacs to console themselves until ten o'clock with dancing. Two other short evenings were occupied with the reading of sketches from Anstey's "Man from Blankley's" collection, augmented on the second occasion by the re-enacting of the heart-rending drama of Bardell v. Pickwick," Mr. Cousins reading the narrative.

On July 4th the Rev. de Lisle was to lecture us on "O. Henry," but owing to the sudden serious illness of Mrs. de Lisle, he was unable to do so. The extracts which he had chosen to illustrate his lecture were read—badly. It was distinctly a wasted evening.

On July 25th Mr. H. E. Nicholls lectured a disappointingly small audience on"Modern Irish Verse and Drama." Mr. Nicholls read a most informative paper, and it is to be regretted that benefit was not taken of Mr. Nicholls' knowledge and research by a greater number of students. It is now clear, however, that the Club's work is to provide mind brightening rather than mind furnishing, amusement rather than erudition. The illustrative piece was Lady Gregory's" Work house Ward,"and it was not well read, the cumulative necessity of brogue and proper interpretation making a task beyond the power of the readers.

There is great work for the Dramatic Club to do, its success or non-success depending very much on the plays chosen. In fields other than play-reading there does not seem to be many chances of finding interest, but clever plays read almost as well as they act, and will always prove attractive to the student mind which is neither in the cobwebbed nor in the infuriated stages of its life history.