Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 30, No. 11. 1967.
Sirs,—For the first time I am in almost complete disagreement with a Salient review.
"The Lady from the Sea" was one of the Drama Club's best productions. It is true that the actors, apart from Linda Sacklin, were not up to professional standards, but they all showed a warm awareness of each other and of the play's meaning which communicated itself to the audience and which was more important than mere polish.
I certainly do not suggest that good intentions are any substitute for good acting; here, we had good intentions realised in good acting.
Good, because the acting was a vehicle for an intelligent interpretation rather than something obstrusive in itself.
Each character probed his or her own potential area of development in a play which, among other things, embodies a sensitive exploration of the relationship between personal freedom and prsonal commitment.
The meanlnglessness of a choice made under pressure is obvious: but the absence of pressure in a complex situation is almost impossible to achieve.
This was beautifully illustrated by Carol Phelps as Bolette when, in order to achieve her freedom, she denies her own personality.
Ellida's related dilemma was resolved in a very moving scene. My one point of agreement with your reviewer, P. Stevens, is the suspicion that Miss Sacklin did not completely understand this role. She gave a consistent interpretation, but one which was perhaps a little too docile. too pathetic, for a woman torn by duty and a lust for the sea and all it represented in the play. But her relationship with her husband, Wangel developed very effectively.
Here, Miss Stevens's speculations on Tony Lenart's posture are at variance with her requirement that a character should be realised in manners as well as in mind. I could find no fault with Tony Lenart's presentation of a humble, bewildered man, benevolent yet not without faults.
The supporting characters were not dull; they were not unoriginal; they worked out their variations on the theme with a concern for the personal as well as for the unifying generality which Ibsen sets forth. Ken Laraman's Lyngstrand was engagingly selfish and naive, avoiding sentimentality and providing a delicate mixture of sadness and nonchalance. Carol Phelps also combined thought-fulness and impetuosity in a fine balance, and Anita Woolf made a very sinister adolescent.
But I don't wish to praise individual actors so much as to appreciate the whole, which I feel your reviewer failed to do. A production relies on the relationship between actors, producer, and play, and it was this relationship which was so satisfying in "The Lady from the Sea.
Finally, may I suggest to P. Stevens that sarcasm is not the worthiest tool of a reviewer?