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Last night-painfully small audience witnessed the Harvard Dramatic Club's production of Commander Stephen King Hall's play, "B. J. One." The play may or may not deserve such treatment but the production distinctly does not. The reservation as to the excellence of the play is made with the Naval Science Department in mind, the members of which could doubtless appreciate its manifold linguistic technicalities.
This much bruited piece from England has been somewhat misrepresented by those who claimed for its distinction equivalent to its military counterpart, "Journey's End." Nor is the reason for its obvious discrepancies recondite. To use a too hackneyed phrase, the plot lacks human interest. Save for the casual friendship of the English and German Lieutenants upon which the action attempts to be based, there is little beyond its very real thrills and occasional humor to lend it coherence.
The Dramatic Club has been very fortunate in securing again the services of Mr. Edward P. Goodnow '17, who directed its production of A. A. Milne's "Success" last year. Mr. Goodnow has given this difficult play his usual sympathetic and capable direction. The scenes staged on "the forebridge of a British light cruiser," which constitute Act II, must in prospect have been disheartening. The result is as realistic and tense an act as the amateur theatre in these parts has been privileged to see in many moons.
No little share of commendation for the excellence of this scene is due C. A. Lane ocC, who designed the settings, and the Technical Staff, who executed them. The lighting and sound effects are likewise eminently successful. Mr. Harris in his pre-view needlessly promised the first-night audience an exercise of its imagination in order to appreciate this scene. (No sooner does the curtain rise upon it than the spectator senses the tensity and thrill of this situation on board a warship speeding through the night to do battle.)
Although the last act, which is quite different in character and takes place after the war in a private office at Sheffield, lives up to the preceding one, the Prologue and Act I lagged rather badly. The fault lay in the clumsy manipulation of their business by some of the actors. However, a generous discount should be allowed since several parts, notably in Act I, represent characters old enough to be the players' grandsires. To be sure, that is an obstacle insurmountable in any dramatic enterprise by an undergraduate organization, yet it scarcely accounts for the consistently bad make-ups in last night's production.
Special mention should be accorded Ian C. Martin '34, who plays Lieutenant Richard Westley, R. N., and Robert L. C. Rein'l '34, whose role is that of Lieutenant Karl Malheim, Imperial German Navy.
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