"Arms and the Man"
The Dramatic Society chose for its first peace-time play Shaw's picture of the professional soldier who debunks the romantic notions of the military amateurs. Blunts chi is a Swiss mercenary, son of a hotel proprietor, and he brings to his soldiering the calculation which characterizes his father's profession and the discretion which is the better part of valour. Kenneth Wesley, after a nervous start, soon got on good terms with his audience, and began to enjoy himself immensely, making the most of his many good lines. June Appleby played Raina, the young lady in whose bedroom the Hunted Blunts chi takes refuge. She played this first long scene excellently, and if her part faded out a little towards the end of the play, the fault probably lay with the dramatist, not the performer.
Rain's parents, the Petkoffs, inordinately proud of their little library and their inside staircase, were portrayed by Audrey Eccersley and G. A Feige. Madam Petkoff fluttered and posed delightfully, while her husband, the Major, spluttered and fumed his way back into civilian life.
Another well-conceived study was P. Rossington's Major Sergious Saranoff, strutting like a peacock and wooing mistress and maid in high and low style alternately. Louka, the maid who aspires to gentility and eventually catches Sergious on the rebound, was played with spirit by Ruth Wragg. Louka also had several good scenes with Nikola, the middle-aged servant who wants to set up shop, and is equally willing to have her as his wife or his best customer. R. M. Atkinson was well inside the skin of this part. R. M. Lister, in a minor military role, completed an exceptionally well-balanced cast. Balance was indeed the keynote of the production. Proportion was kept between the satire and the story; and the stage-setting, lighting and dresses, all excellent in themselves, were carefully subordinate to the action of the play. The main credit for this must go to the producer, Mr. B. R. Dyson whose feeling for the theatre was never at fault, and whose enthusiasm was clearly infectious. He was materially assisted by Miss Johnson, whose scene painting captured the Balkan atmosphere completely, and by Mr. Shield and his squad of stage-hands.
Time and space would fail the critic if he were to make adequate mention of all those who worked as ticket sellers, perruquiers, attendants, curtain-makers and removal men. But enough has been said to indicate that "Arms and the Man" was very much a co-operative effort. It was most gratifying to have such crowded audiences, and to hear their unstinted laughter and applause. Functions such as this contributed largely to the corporate feeling of the School. Congratulations to all concerned!
played by Ruth Wagg and Nikola played by Michael Atkinson
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