Against the strong counter-attraction provided by the many new School Societies, the Dramatic Society, we are pleased to state, has more than held its own; indeed, we have had very reluctantly to shut our gates against the importunate hordes of would-be actors in order to keep our numbers within working limits.
A revised form of last term's group system is now in existence and nine groups are rehearsing plays. These will be produced if possible this term, but it may be found necessary to hold them over till a later date. We can assure the School of some good entertainment when these plays are produced.
If anyone has been inclined to wax somewhat satirical concerning last term's plays, we would remind him that everything must have a beginning. Not only were the actors handicapped by their inexperience, but they had very few opportunities for rehearsing on the stage. We think the groups are to be congratulated on their efforts. The outstanding fault, which marred all but one of the plays, was inaudibility. If the groups have only learnt the art of making themselves heard, their future productions will be greatly improved.
We congratulate Group IX on their performance, notable for its audibility and the amusement it provided, and for the vigorous acting of Payton as the man who forgot to put his trousers on; Group VI. produced a play full of action with some effective crooks, a diamond, and a useful piece of chewing gum; and Group IV had a very laughable cockney valet, though some of the other characters were very nervous and some very incoherent. The other groups achieved varying degrees of success. One play, The Master of the House, was really unsuitable and should not have been attempted.
The Sixth Form also perpetrated a play. Whenever the actors spoke they were heard; but in spite of the amazing spectacle of august members of the Sixth wrapped up in green curtains and grease paint and guzzling ginger beer, the School remained unimpressed. There is a moral somewhere in this, we leave you to discover it.
The Society's three-act play has been settled at the last moment as The Ghost Train. At the time of writing intensive rehearsals are taking place under the supervision of the Headmaster, who has undertaken the production of the play. The "noises-off" and lighting in this play are of great importance: Messrs. Arthur and Brobyn are in charge of this department. A large number of bells, drums, mallets, rollers, whistles, etc. has been gathered together, and on certain nights in the week the workshop shakes to the rhythmic roaring of a railway train, to the great delight of a curious audience in the cloisters.
The membership of the Society is now about fifty. This is very satisfactory when the number and attraction of the other societies are taken into account. The members have been separated into groups according to the usual practice, and the plays to be performed by the various groups at the end of term have already been chosen. Competition is very keen.
Members are looking forward with eagerness to some excursions which the Society proposes to organise to St. Pancras People's Theatre, where several enjoyable evenings were spent last year.
It is hoped that the three-act play which is to be presented in March will have been chosen before Christmas.
[The dramatic performances on Speech Day had no connection with the Dramatic Society. The performance of the scenes from A Midsummer Night's Dream was directed by Mr.Whitt, while the presentation from St. Joan was supervised by Mr. Brobyn.-Editor.]