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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 1, No. 13 June 29, 1938

The Importance of Being Earnest

The Importance of Being Earnest

Several candidates for office in the newly-elcted Exec. When interviewed gave as their opinion that there was "too much outside stuff." An opinion held by several others is that there is not enough gossip and chat in it.

These opinions must be given the weight that is their due, and if "Salient" can be truly charged with being tood dull and heavy, it is a defect and not a virtue.

There are however, students in the College who like their literary diet to be fairly concentrated, and they are by to means few in number. The question arises: Is it possible to provide for both?

There can be little doubt in finding the answer to the question that there are amongst students as amongst the general public people who find the daily recital of tragedies, wars and rumours of wars, and other outstanding features of contemporary life a little hard to face up to, and who prefer, consciously or unconsciously, to turn their back on them, and to seek refuge in escape.

A humourless existence has nothing to recommend it, but if a person seeks humour, pleasant talk and similar diversions to the exclusion of serious thought, an attitude of mind arises which when confronted with an unpleasant concrete reality, cannot adjust itself to the new circumstances, and renders the person upon whom it rests of little use to his fellow men in times of crisis.

The Dramatic Club performance last Friday night exemplified the point I want to make. This club is an active and efficient body and is prepared to take its work seriously. In the past in has produced worthy plays of some dramatic value. They do not claim that all their plays should be "arty" and have always maintained a good balance in their programmes between fatuous comedy, thrillers, and so on.

The programme on Friday night was no exception. The farce done well in the approved manner of farce which is not a particularly high dramatic form (vide Extravs.), was received very well. The dramatic piece, which, by the way, should have been first instead of last, was received with the most intolerable tittering and giggling. For example, one good line, "Say, if that's so. I guess I better go sleep with the Doctor," was received with a good laugh, which it fully deserved, but when at what was a good moment in the play the sailor said, "Poor little devil, she was only nineteen," and the girl replied, "I'm nineteen, too," it also was received with a laugh. On another occasion Lily was looking through the window at the snow, and remarked, "I can see one star"; the sailor replied, "So can I," the audience again giggled. There was nothing in either the acting or the situation to suggest a comic situation. From this it seems to me that the Dram Club should either go out of existence or else give up scrious and worthwhile dramatic art and go in for minstrel shows with a few wise-cracking black faces. I think these would be well received. And if that is so, "Salient" could give up any pretensions to seriousness and run gossip news and columns of jokes lifted from "Humour" or the "Evening Post" Saturday edition.

Nevertheless, an effort has been, and will continue to be made to provide in "Salient" for as many tastes as possible. Actually, one is inclined to think that the students of V.U.C. are fairly well served in this respect.