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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 7, No. 7 July 26, 1944

Discovery

Discovery

The striking success of that beautifully written and produced series of plays, "The Man Born to be King," leads one to hope that more major overseas radio drama will be heard here. Of these, the plays of Louis MacNeice should have high priority. His latest, "Christopher Columbus," is a fine large story in blank verse of the great discoverer, with a large cast (in its first production from the BBC including Laurence Olivier, Marius Goring, Robert Speight, and Margaret Rawlings, with the BBC symphony playing music specially composed by William Walton).

The first act tells of Columbus' [unclear: better] struggle with the scoffers of Spain and Portugal to prove that his Vision of the Future was not a wild-eyed fancy. Fiercely he pleads for a ship and their confidence, then only for a ship. In the second act, driven on by his own confidence, against wind and weather and the doubts of his crew, he achieves the magnificent victory. Then again to Europe, to the adulation of Court and people alike.

Through the play runs a chorus, and the voices of Doubt and Faith, and much music. Great lists of grand Spanish names and titles roll through the words.

This play is exciting enough to read, in its superb language, and would be fine to hear. There are copious notes and explanations by MacNeice, including a good treatise on radio drama in general.

Particularly pleasing, too, are the "links" between scenes, as:

"Night music now throws a light on Columbus talking to himself"; and

"In Cordoba someone is singing"; and

"The Indian song comes up again and covers Columbus' departure for Europe."

It's grand stuff, and it is well printed by Faber and Faber.

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