Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Spike or Victoria University College Review June 1925

Dramatic Club

Dramatic Club.

"The theater is your Poets' Royal Exchange, upon which their Muses, (yt are now furnd to Merchants ) meeting, barter away that light commodity of words for a lighter more than words, Plaudites, and the breath of the great Beast. . ."

—Thomas Dekker.

As usual, the Dramatic Club continued its activities all through the long vacation and, in spite of the difficulties met with in obtaining sufficient casts during holiday time, some very successful readings were held.

page 74

The Club is to some extent hampered by the high prices charged in New Zealand for printed plays. Unfortunately Club funds are very limited, but it has been found possible to save a considerable amount by buying direct from England. An order forwarded towards the end of last year was some time in being fulfilled, and in the meantime it was a case of Hobson's choice from the shelves of Messrs. Whitcombe and Tombs

On November the 25th last year, Ibsen's play, "Ar Enemy of the People," occupied the evening. This reading was not very satisfying, owing chiefly to the fact that the translations used by the readers not being uniform, there was some difficulty in following the cues. Mr. G. O. Cooper read the part of "Dr. Thomas Stockman," a character in which he was really at home, and prevented a disappointing performance. The other characters are so subsidiary that they give little scope to the reader.

Remaining out of the last order from England was one short play, "Scenes from Pickwick," and this, together with a one-act play by Gertrude Jennings, "Converts," made up the next programme. Most of us would be rather dubious of "Pickwick Papers" in a dramatised form, but those who attended this reading were certainly presented with unadulterated "Dickens." Mr. Cooper, whom we have been inclined to overwork, proved an excellent vehicle for Sam Weller's delightful humour. Miss Richmond as "Miss Rachel Wardle," and Miss Hadfield as "Miss Arabella Allen," were alo outstanding. Owing to a shortage of readers, three of the five readers in "Converts" were compelled to take more than one part, but the playlet was evidently appreciated by the audience.

The Club's activities for the new year began on February 3rd with "The Romantic Age." by A. A. Milne. This excellent light comedy proved very enjoyable, and Miss Baldwin adapted herself to an excellent interpretation of "Melisande." Mr. Yaldwyn, reading the part of "Gervase Mallory," was equally good.

H. A. Vachell's "The Case of Lady Camber," a fortnight later, did not lead well.

For the next meeting a selection was made from the Club's own plays, which had by that time arrived from England. The choice fell on Barrie's "Dear Brutus," which was read on March 10th of this year. As might be expected of one of Barrie's plays, the reading was excellent, and in spite of the fact that it was still vacation time, there was present a fairly large audience. Mr. Baldwin, a Vice-President of the Club, read the part of "Will Dearth," and "Margaret," his imaginary daughter, was read by Miss Thyra Baldwin. The scene between Will Dearth and Margaret in the wood was keenly appreciated, but, indeed, it was difficult to pick out any section of this reading and say it was better than the remainder. Mrs. Baldwin as "Mrs. Coade," Mr. Norman Byrne as "Mr. Purdie," Miss Naida Glover as Mabel Purdie," and Miss Mary Cooley as "Alice Dearth," could not have been improved upon.

Owing to the large number of applications for the use of the Gymnasium during the first term of this session, it was not until after Easter that there was vacant a suitable night that the Club could utilise. "You Never Can Tell," by Bernard Shaw, was eventually read A re-arrangement of nights was made for the second term, and alternate Tuesdays were reserved for the Dramatic Club. On June 23, "A Bill of Divorcement," by Clemence Dane, occupied the evening and was very successful. The cast consisted largely of new members, and their excellent reading promises some very enjoyable meetings for this year. Mr. Riske and Miss Peggy Watson especially, are to be complimented on their performance in this play.

The casting committee wishes to make some explanation in connection with the choice of readers. During the vacation the number of Club members available was very limited, and consequently many of them had to be cast again and again for successive readings. This year it is intended to try out every member of the Club. At the same time it is necessary to bear in mind that in order to ensure the success of a reading, the main parts on which the play depends must be filled by persons whose experience assures the casting committee of a satisfactory performance. One of the main objects of the Dramatic Club is the appreciation of plays.

The ladies of the Club have been good enough to undertake to provide supper after each reading, and all Club ladies attending are requested to bring a plate of eats. The men are asked at each supper-time for a monetary contribution to defray the small cash outlay required every time supper is provided.

page 75

It was hoped that the Club would be in a position this year to perform a play, but it is expected that this will have to be postponed until next year.

Among the plays to be read in the immediate future are: "R.U.R." ay Capek; 'Mary Rose." by J. M. Barrie; and "The Tragedy of Nan," by John Masefield.

Big things are expected of this Club next year.