Blog Banner

Drama on the stage and in the field

Mark Damazer

Midsummer Night’s Dream in late May – the annual students’ garden play. The predicted monsoon duly arrived and so the supremo, Marina Goodman (Law), moved the whole caboodle to the JCR. 

The JCR was nicely occupied and one or two brave finalists dropped by for some escape. Plenty of our Visiting Student contingent turned up, and one (Sarah Bai) made a balletic and mellifluous Titania. She had been practising with great focus outside the Dorfman.

Not everyone had perfected all their lines, although some most certainly did, but that is excusable given the pressures of an exam term, and the occasional (sic) hiccup was dextrously managed.

It is a notoriously complicated play – Shakespeare at his most cross-dressingly convoluted – but piercingly brilliant and funny. Bottom (Sam Bodansky, Maths ) is one of his great comic creations, and this was a very rumbustious performance, with controlled bellowing and a satisfactorily extended fake death. “This was lofty” after a Bottom tirade did well, as did “I’ll speak a monstrous voice.”

Midsummer Night's Dream

It always takes a few minutes for me to find a rhythm for the piece, but it does not take long for the laughs to come.

Starveling’s “I am slow of study” elicited a strong response in a sophisticated student audience. As did Hermia’s “high and low” speech.

The use of a cucumber slice as a love potion was inventive if minimalist. Puck and Oberon did fine work with it. The Pimm’s, which had been intended for the outdoors warmth, was poured from the outset to set a mood and then turned into a prop for Lysander and Demetrius.

Overall – a hoot and valuable college tradition sustained.

JCR vs SCR Cricket 2017

The SCR v JCR cricket match (the organisational maestro here is Prof Tom Adcock) produced a tie. A historic result, almost unknown in any cricket game.

The normal accoutrements and rituals were in evidence – tea, cakes, Tom’s drone, some adventurous running between the wickets, overthrows, huge collapses, heroism and so on. Rosie (as in my wife) scored for the second year in a row and lived through the stress (considerable). Photos from the match, which was played in glorious sunshine, as opposed to the intermittent rain and hail of previous years, can be viewed here.

Here are some excerpts from the Bursar’s version of events:

“The SCR secured an historic tie against the JCR with an heroic, last-ball-of-the-match catch by Kyle Turner (Junior Dean), who jumped high to his left to catch a stinger of a drive. ‘I didn't think it would stick, mate’, said a breathless Kyle shortly after the match. 

Ably and decisively captained again by Professor Tom Adcock (who claimed three wickets in his first over), the SCR celebrated long into the night. At some point the Bursar was persuaded to invest in a SCR v JCR trophy by the Archivist, who, having researched the history of the match, established that it has been taking place since at least 1969. 

By a wonderful coincidence, Professor Henry Mayr-Harting, who umpired yesterday, played in that match. Prof M-H displayed a fine understanding of the spirit of the game in his wise judgements throughout the keenly fought contest. After a brief conference, Dr Allen and Professor M-H, both historians, concluded that, aside from the two previous years, and in absence of any firm evidence to the contrary, the SCR has won every other match. This heritage will be reified (?) on the trophy … to be continued.”

Recent updates
The inquisitor arrives: An evening with John Humphrys
By Mark Damazer on October 17, 2018
University Challenge: a collision
By Mark Damazer on October 04, 2018
Oxford and admissions
By Mark Damazer on May 25, 2018