KING OEDIPUS

by Sophocles
(English version by E. F. Watling)

OEDIPUS, King of Thebes

J. R. Williams

JOCASTA, wife of Oedipus

J. C. B. Turney

CREON, brother of Jocasta

T. Williams

TEIRESIAS, a blind prophet

M. B. Hill

A PRIEST

N. D. Worswick

AN AMBASSADOR from Corinth

A. Jackson

A SHEPHERD

A. E. Grant

AN ATTENDANT in the Palace

M. J. Gould

ANTIGONE
ISMENE daughters of Oedipus

J. Goodwin
S. A. Morant

CHORUS OF THEBAN ELDERS

R. A. Avis (Leader), R. E. Bardgett, P. Broomhead,
P. B. Fairest, R. F. Laughton, J. M. Ogglesby,
J. G. Robinson, F. A. Smith, M. Turner.

MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN OF THEBES

P. Benton, M. R. Robinson, S. L. Williams, J. R. Topley,
C. S. Berresford, R. Carroll, P. N. Kenyon, M. J. Richards,
H. S. Ogley, D. J. Nelson, S. A. Morant, M. A. Hall,
D. Mingay, J. P. Abrahams, D. A. Cox.

QUEEN'S ATTENDANT

P. J. Quarrell

DOORKEEPERS

J. P. A. Hobson, C. W. Hague

The action takes place before the Palace of Thebes, some
fifteen years after the accession of Oedipus.

Flute: M.D. Linton; Percussion: R. J. Thompson
Production designed by Mr. R. B. Chalmers.

Grateful thanks are due to the mothers of the cast who have made the costumes,
under the direction of Mrs. H. Miller.

Owing to the recent illness of Mr. Chalmers, the final stages of production
have been directed by Mr. E. F. Watling.


A TRIP TO SCARBOROUGH

A Comedy by Richard Brinsley Sheridan

LORD FOPPINGTON

S. G. Linstead 

SIR TUNBELLY CLUMSY

W. Bailey

COLONEL TOWNLY

J. A. Anderson

LOVELESS

F. D. Beer

TOM FASHION

P. N. Kenning

LA VAROLE

G. Kilroe

LORY

F. D. Loxley

PROBE

B. Hilton-Tapp

MENDLEGS

M. J. Lodge

SHOEMAKER

P. H. Palmer

TAILOR

J. R. Milner

FIRST MUSICIAN

J. Buchan

SECOND MUSICIAN

 J. G. McNaught

FIRST FOOTMAN

B. R. Sykes

SECOND FOOTMAN

A. W. Struthers

 PAGE

R. Mingay

SERVANTS

 I. P. Griffith, M. Hill, J. A. C. Shaw

POSTILION's BOY

 P. J. W. Grimsditch

AMANDA

I. F. Bustin

BERINTHIA

F. I. Parker

Miss HOYDEN

M. Grundmann

MRS. COUPLER

I. Hartley

NURSE A.

J. Revill

SEMPSTRESS

R. C. Pitt

The scene is set in and near Scarborough.
The Prologue is spoken by Mrs. Coupler.
Produced by Mr. J. B. A. Burridge.
Furniture kindly loaned by A. E. Jameson & Co., Glossop Road.


STAGE CONSTRUCTION
Messrs. J. A. Bray, E. J. Green, J. W. Hersee, G. Layer, A. W. Surguy.
Assisted by: M. J. Averill, T. A. Batley, G. H. Bridge, P. Bygate, P. H. P. Cass,
J. C. Crabtree, B. Crookes, J. G. Crookes, A. M. Dowling, A. J. W. Edwards, J. G. Francis,
R. Grant, D. W. Gregory, C. M. Johnson, J. B. Partridge, M. D. Sanderson, S. P. Simpson,
C. R. Singleton, B. Snelson, A. R. Wilcock, D. R. Williams.

STAGE LIGHTING
Mr. W. K. Mace
Assisted by: I. Andrews, N. Coe, B. J. Duke, A. Highfield, P. G. Hibbard.

STAGE MANAGEMENT
Messrs. P. D. Arculus, B. C. Arthur, L. J. Slattery
Assisted by: M. R. Evison, J. H. Hemming

Music for both plays arranged by
Mr. N. J. Barnes

REFRESHMENTS

There will be one interval, of 15 minutes, when coffee will be served in the Dining Hall.
Will visitors please obtain tickets, price 6d. from Stewards, before the play starts.


       KING EDWARD VII SCHOOL MAGAZINE

School Dramatic Society, April 5th-9th 1957

SOPHOCLES AND SHERIDAN

The producer of school drama is faced initially with the problem of choosing between a play which will qualify as a pageant and display the talents of a wide variety of actors and technicians, and one of more purely dramatic quality, whose success will depend critically on the abilities of a smaller number. The first offers an easier insurance against failure, since spectacle, colour and movement may well compensate for roughness in production and lack of discipline in acting; the second stands or falls by the ability of the producer to discover and train a body of actors whose understanding of the play is matched by a self-denying loyalty to its spirit.

[Photo taken by David Edwards - source David Edwards]

King Oedipus in Mr. Watling's translation was the first play of the second type which the school has attempted in the last few years, and it was a conspicuous success. It is a play which in its main role appeals to the virtuoso actor, and no one who saw Sir Laurence Olivier play the part will forget the range and horror of that performance.  Mr. Chalmers had firmly decided that to present the play in this way would not only be beyond the range of his cast, but more important, a distortion of its real sense.  By rigorously, even sternly, restricting the emotional scope of his presentation, he had surprising success in representing the rigid and archaic qualities of Greek Drama and in calling forth a slightly formal, but entirely harmonious style of acting, which is rare indeed in school performances.

To this success he was helped by J. R. Williams's performance as Oedipus, which was memorable for its restraint and firm control. It is true that he did not succeed in the opening scenes in creating the picture of Oedipus as the noble benevolent king, shepherd of his people. Here he seemed furtive rather than kindly, preoccupied with his own thoughts rather than concerned for the welfare of his people. But from then on he showed growing strength and power. Most actors achieve the climax of their performance in the scene where Oedipus appears sightless on the stage. If this happens, the following scene of his meeting with his children becomes anticlimax of a dead and somewhat repulsive kind.  Perhaps the most impressive part of Williams's performance and certainly the most moving was the tenderness which he brought to the playing of this final scene. For an actor whose voice range is limited this was most intelligent and skilful playing.

The rest of the cast measured well up to the quality of Williams's performance.  They spoke with clarity and feeling and kept their playing admirably in key with that of Oedipus. In a play which depends so much on the sheer tension and concentration of performance, this reserve and occasional underplaying proved highly successful.

In a very even cast one might perhaps pick out for special praise J. C. B. Turney's excellent playing of Jocasta - perhaps the most difficult role to cast adequately in a school production; and M. B. Hill's Teiresias, who carefully resisted the temptation to indulge in Grand Guignol.  T. Williams as Creon spoke admirably, but he under-played the part and did not suggest with complete success the trustworthiness and essential stability of Creon's character.

The difficulties involved in the use of a large Chorus were on the whole well surmounted. It has become fashionable in modern productions of Greek tragedy to restrict the number of the chorus to two or three, and Mr. T. S. Eliot has declared his despair of making use of a full chorus. In this performance the division of choral speaking into groups, the plotting of movement and position, were very well conceived and executed, but there remained some uncertainty of what their precise relation to the action on the stage should be. Their reaction to temporal events was spasmodic and their somewhat random individual movements served to distract rather than fix the attention of the audience at critical moments.  R. A. Avis's performance as Leader was one of the best in such a role that I have seen. He bridged with remarkable skill the gap between the timeless commentating chorus and the events in time being unfolded on the stage, and his extremely casual intrusions into the action were never banal or platitudinous.

Much praise is due to the great army of constructors and technicians who devised the set and lighting with such ingenuity and good taste; to Mrs. Miller for her part in directing the making of the excellent costumes; to D. J. Rolfe (whose name was omitted from the programme) for his decor. Those who saw the play will not be ignorant how much energy and skill was devoted to the production by Mr. Chalmers, and by Mr. Watling who, apart from providing the translation, took over the production at an advanced stage (during Mr. Chalmers's unfortunate illness) and brought it to such a polished fulfilment.

A Trip to Scarborough, in contrast, belongs distinctly to the genus pageant, and it can be produced as a  pageant the more wholeheartedly in that it has virtually no dramatic merit. There is variety of scene, elegance of costume, exterior refinement of manners and a parade of widely and wildly assorted characters.  If one is to present Sheridan according to the traditions of his theatre, then one must expect from the actors a mannered preciosity of diction, style and movement that I have never seen attained by a school cast. Mr. Burridge with considerable ingenuity and wit allowed it to be played as straight pantomime, matching the chaos of Sheridan's plot with a chaos of acting styles. S. G. Linstead, in an accomplished and elegant performance as Lord Foppington, stuck faithfully to the 18th century convention; W. Bailey in an amusing portrayal of Sir Tunbelly Clumsy played in the best English tradition of beer-and-beef farce; A. I. Revill gave a charming little vignette of the Nurse in the sentimental manner of late Victorian theatre; and F. I. Parker as Berinthia ogled at the audience as though from the boards of Collins Music Hall in the time of 1908.

By the time the play had been on for ten minutes the plot had been forgotten or had ceased to matter. One settled down peacefully to a set of variety turns and displays of virtuosity poised very skilfully against a most elegant and ingeniously constructed set and dressed out in bright and attractive costumes. Not all the verbal wit, it is true, reached the audience. Linstead in particular was inclined to throw away his lines by speaking from the corner of his mouth to behind his back, sometimes inaudibly. Kenning, excellently made up as Tom Fashion, spoke without much confidence and as though signifying his contempt for what Sheridan had written. But generally speaking the cast entered with gusto into what was nearly a contest in comicality and exhibitionism.

It was odd that with so much vitality in the production as a whole the scenes of love and intrigue should have been less than successful. Here if anywhere was an opportunity for full-blooded overacting in the Pola Negri tradition. Yet both male and female participants in the love scenes became strangely shy and abashed, inhibited perhaps by the thought that in the Sheffield of today "bawdy is severely out of fashion."

The playing of the minor roles was good and gave an indication of the dramatic talent available for future production; and perhaps even more than in the Oedipus, great praise should be accorded to those behind the scenes who had done so much to contribute to the effortless speed and smoothness of the production.  Mr. Burridge is to be congratulated on the skill and vitality which this performance displayed.

One should say in conclusion that this year's show has given most promising indications of the high standard of drama of which the School is and should be capable. A large number of people have been prepared to devote much spare time over a period of months to hard rehearsal, planning and construction. That their efforts are appreciated and highly regarded was clear from the size and enthusiasm of the audiences. But I was greatly shocked during the last days of term to find how many of the School, even of those in senior forms, had not visited the plays and had made no plans to go. It is surely deplorable that at the side of the disinterested enthusiasm which makes these plays possible there should exist such foolish and short-sighted indifference to the activities of the School.

D. V. H.