The Importance of College Drama

The Importance of College Drama

Jun 17, 2014

This week sees the annual college play on the lawn in the garden of Canal House - ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ - a marvel of concise wit and verbal sparring – and  an unbeatable satire on snobbery and Victorian mores. It has a collection of aphorisms hard to match in a single play.

St Peter’s formed the core of the whole enterprise though there were also contributions from Pembroke, Wadham, Jesus and Regent’s Park. (They all heard about the play through the OUDS newsletter). The Director’s (Maddy Herbert) take: “Nice to be able to share the Garden play experience, and our college with people from outside St Peter’s while keeping a strong Peter’s contingent.” There was a role, of course, for the college tortoise – Aristurtle (sic) – gently stroked by Sam Gebreselassie (as John/Jack Worthing).

It is an ensemble piece – Wilde distributes his bon mots and laugh aloud moments rather equally – and liberally. There are asides about class, education, marriage, families, money, status.

Wilde needs a rhythm in performance to elevate it from being a period piece. Yes – there is froth – but there is bite and the sharpness of tone makes it work for any receptive audience and this production definitely arrived – and got better and better as it went on.

No summer play is complete without the lowering clouds and the thought of a move to the chapel to ward off the cold. But we (the audience) held on during the Monday matinee and the weather will get better, apparently, during the week. So go – and laugh..and you may not need to  wrap up either.

The St Peter’s talent embraced acting, directing, producing – across Modern Languages, Arch and Anth, PPE (twice), Law, History — all undergraduates involved in studying. They excelled – and it is a big piece to learn.