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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 30, No. 8. 1967.

Arts Editor misunderstood production

Arts Editor misunderstood production

Sirs.—Your Arts Editor. Bob Lord, seems to have misunderstood the intention of the Capek brothers in their play" The Life Of The Insects."

He sees the part of the Vagrant "totally unnecessary to the play for it adds nothing to the satire."

For Mr. Lord's information, the play is not wholly a satire. One cannot place a play of this nature into a convenient pidgeon-hole to suit the critic's individual idiosyncrasies.

As well as possessing certain satirical qualities, the Insect Play is finely tragic.

The Vagrant is not merely a mouthpiece of the Capeks' convictions, but also is intended as a living entity in himself.

The structure, I think, tends to this view. The Vagrant is a disillusioned wanderer who has not succeeded in life due to flaws in his own personality, among which is the inability to involve himself in human situations. He says musing to himself:

"Why did I love her? I caught hold of her insect hands like that and then I let her go."

He stumbles into a forest where he sees insects living the lives of people from whom he has already fled in disillusionment.

He feels more and more despair as the play proceeds. In the final scene when the Chrysalis is finally born and when he mingles among the moths, the glory of life effervescing, and then sees death take the moths moments after birth, he realises the hopelessness of life itself.

This Lear-like motivation for his death is far removed from the absurdity that the Vagrant gets the idea to die.

Sirs, I would suggest to you that your art critics when reviewing a production such as this, should not attempt to air their private philosophies in argument with the author's intentions, but constructively review the merits and demerits of the production itself.

A. P. Lenart.

(The Vagrant)