SMAD. An Organ of Student Opinion. 1936. Volume 7. Number 16.
Another Good Show
Another Good Show
Dorothea Tossman Excellent On Production —But Disappointing First Play
Despite the disgusting weather on Friday night the Dramatic Club's one-act play evening was reasonably well patronized and it was a satisfied audience which adjourned to the dance floor to await supper. The show opened badly —very badly in our opinion—but two excellently produced and interesting playes succeeded in pulling it out of the fire.
The choice of "Villa for Sale" was not of the best to begin with, but that was not the only shortcoming. An inexperienced cast and slipshod production combined in making it one of the worst exhibitions "Smad" has witnessed on the Gym platform.
In marked contrast were "Mr. Sampson" and "Thread o' Scarlet," where faithful and painstaking attention to detail were rewarded by artistic performances. "Smad" congratulates all concerned.
"Villa For Sale."
The ideal of encouraging inexperienced young players is a commendable one. "Smad" appreciates the efforts of the Club in this direction, but we consider that to put them into a major production is unfair both to them and to the audience. A course in play readings, as was a past practice, is recommended.
The theme of the play is slight, with no action and consists mainly of a series of daulogues. It seemmed to us that a more satisfactory effect would have been obtained by speeding up a production which dragged painfully.
Betty Combs as the maid was well cast but did not appear to have sufficient to occupy her during long speeches. Gaston as played by G. Hooper lacked consistency. His wife, Rosamund Drummond, was unfortunately hidden behind a superfluity of hat and seemed a little too insipid for the dominating charcter in the partnership. Margaret Merlet elocuted rather well but like many elocutionists she soon began to pall. The American film star of Mary Brisco possessed an original nazalisation.
Most of the faults could have been rectified by more exacting production.
A delightful performance which held the attention of an appreciative audience from start to finish. The play was good, the production was good, the casting was good, and the acting was excellent.
The simple story of two old maidenly sisters with a fluttering fear of, but a sneaking desire for wedlock is charmingly developed in this whimsical piece. Gossip accuses them of having designs on Mr. Sampson their tenant, for whom they have performed many little domestic kindnesses. When told of this, he remains unruffled and surprises them by suggesting that the idea is an excellent one. His only trouble is that he wasn't born a "heathen Turk"—then he could have married both. The rest of the play treats the problem of his inability to choose between them and the effect of this novel idea— "Matrimony"—on the two sisters. The playwright achieves a highly satisfactory conclusion by evading a definite solution to the original problem.
It was a difficult play to do, yet the three players seemed perfectly at ease throughout. Their artistic interpretation showed a thorough knowledge of and sympathy with the characters portrayed, besides demonstrating remarkable success in casting. All three worked together in perfect harmony with the result that it was quite impossible to single out any one for praise. Cecil O'Halloran's Caroline, Alverie Walton's Catherine, and N. L. Banks's Mr. Sampson were lovable characters whose humanity and naiveté made boredom impossible.
Production by Dorothea Tossman.
"Thread o' Scarlet."
Good production and realistic off stage effects were the features of the third play, a drama of terror and mystery. The action is laid in the bar-room of a lovely country inn where three village tradesmen are discussing the hanging of a neighbour (really innocent) that morning. The real murderer, who actually served on the jury which sentenced the innocent man, is present. An atmosphere of suspense, heightened by a raging storm, is maintained to the last dramatic line with which the murderer betrays himself, "Breen you dirty thief, you've been robbing my safe."
That the players succeeded in acting up to the atmosphere of the play is attested to by the dead silence of an intensely interested audience.
Duncan impressed us as the landlord. As tradesmen, McGhie was consistently good, Dowrick perhaps too casual, and Freeman as the real culprit, gave a highly emotional display. Drummond as a storm-bound traveller did what was expected of him very efficiently.
Dorothea Tossman's second production. A great piece of work.
To Ian Gow behind stage must go much of the credit for the smooth running of the show. His three settings were all well conceived and executed, while there was no hitch or lack of realism in his effects.