City Secondary - School Play
Tobias And The Angel
March 18th. & 19th. 1937

The first efforts of the Dramatic Society were rewarded with success.  On two evenings at the end of the Easter Term they presented "Tobias and the Angel," by James Bridie, to enthusiastic audiences, in the Hall.  The Cast was as follows:-

TOBIT, a poor Jew   .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ....................  J. Wilson
TOBIAS, his son .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .................... H. Barker
THE ARCHANGEL RAPHAEL (in the guise of a porter) ................... V. Machin
ANNA, Tobit's wife  .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .................. Mary E Wood
A BANDIT  .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ................... N. H. Pulford
SARA, Raguel's daughter . .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ........... Evelyn S. Glatman
SHERAH, a singing girl  .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ........... Ruby Thompson
AZORAH, a dancing girl .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ................. Margaret G. Hird
RAGUEL, a rich Jew .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .............. J. E. Gee
AN ETHIOPIAN SLAVE .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ............... S. Thorpe
ASMODAY, a demon  .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ................. B. R. Dyson
GIRLS IN ATTENDANCE ON SARA .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Josephine Abraham
                                                                                                          Esther Askew
                                                                                                      Janet Newsome
                                                                                                           Mary Radford

A great deal of preparation was involved in rehersals, make-up, scenery, lighting and costumes, but they served to give send-off to the newest venture in School activities.

For some months meetings have been held on Friday evenings for rehearsals with Mr. Dyson and tuition in make-up by Mr. Goodfellow.  Large attendances showed the interest taken in these activities.

The Society has obtained a new stage, new back-cloth and stage-cloth and an excellent lighting system.  With these permanent assets, it should be possible to make a profit on future occasions.

The new Dramatic Society showed an old traditional courage in staging "Tobias and the Angel," on the 18th and 19th March.  James Bridie's plays do not flatter a timid producer, for his use of the theatre is not soothingly orthodox.  He is full of wordinesses and casual philosophies, twisting of tags, and gratuitous satire;  but his plays have at least the unity of humour.  He writes at two levels.  The producer rightly concentrated on the boyish picaresque aspect of the play.  This suited a school production, and the characters in "Tobias" are in general neat and clear enough to bring out the best in student actors.  Tobias himself is a character to delight young people - a boy proving his manhood.  I had seen this play presented before sophisticated adults, but not until now had I realised how Stevensonian a simplicity there was in the theme.  Sarah was the only character demanding the experienced interpretation of an adult.  She seems to step out of Mayfair rather than Hamadan.

No player embarrassed us by lack of confidence.  They acted into their parts.  On  the few occasions the prompter was needed,  they did not lose character.  When the Angel nearly lost his gift of tongues in his final speech he kept his celestial serenity.  Machin, who took the part, gave indeed a strong performance.  Mary Wood's Anna was a creditable piece of work in the least sympathetic role.  It is not an easy one to act, and she only transgressed when she embraced the returned Tobias with a fine youthful vigour.  Wilson counterfeited the blindness of Tobit, her husband, very well.  He was perhaps just too good-humoured, so that he under-emphasised the deep sense of religion in the old man.  But that is a fine point.  He did make us enjoy with him a very enjoyable character.  The role of Tobias who, with the Archangel, gives continuity to the play, afforded Barker an opportunity he utilised well.  His facial expressions, his alternating of effrontery with fun, his cheerful boyishness, were a good reward for careful training.  He had an arduous task, and he did not falter.  It was Evelyn Glatman who undertook the difficult part of Sarah.  Who would find it easy to reconcile, for instance, the slave-beating virago with the thoughtful daughter-in-law of the final scene?  So she did the sensible thing and let her lines speak for her difficulty.  She knew how to be appealing, gracious, friendly, petulant, roguish, exalted and resigned.  And that was her success.  Gee and Pulford, in Raguel and the Bandit blustered better than he cringed.  His job was to make plausible his brow-beating by Tobias.  I'm not sure he succeeded.  The lines Asmoday has to speak were insignificant when compared to that apparition he made.  He was indeed devilish.

Sara's attendant slaves were decorative and amusingly bored.  The singing and dancing was nearly oriental.  I admired the Abyssinian darkness of  Thorpe.

In the settings, fussy detail was absent.  The first scene was too simple.  Some bold suggestion of a Ninevehan hovel would have been welcome.  As it was, the stage lacked locality.  Undoubtedly, the best decor was that for Raguel's garden.  The tree was an inspiration.  It stood out well against the luminous backcloth, and floodlights were cleverly used to catch a lustre in the leaves.  In fact, the lighting generally was very effective.  The sole illumination and the extinction of that servant's taper in the evening garden are memorable.
 

The costumes were suitable, colourful and pleasing.  The rich costumes did often look sumptuous.  I thought the coils on the Bandit's head-dress were too cable-like.  The fish had a pretty appearance until the Angel, I think, handled it like a loofah.  Make-up in all cases was commendable, and Tobit's visage was a triumph.  What effects of noise the play demanded were duly and well provided;  the splashings of Tobias in the Tigris, the bird-song, the festival music.

This performance is the best the School has yet seen, and Mr. Dyson, the producer, is to be congratulated for taking full advantage of the generosity, the sympathy, and the facilities now accorded school dramatics.  Those who, in the old Centre gymnasium, at Carver Street, and later on this same stage, struggled to make dramatics an essential school function, will best appreciate the achievement of the new Society.  To them it is chiefly a consummation.  The tackling of a full-length play, and the casting of students even for the most difficult part is good policy.  I am sure the Staff will not feel, in view of this result, that their enthusiasm is spent in vain, out of the limelight.

G. F. Jackson.