The Prescotian Webzine

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Romanoff and Juliet
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The School has always been proud of its annual play production and with good reason, because it has aquired, not only a reputable history, but a standard of presentation approaching that of first class amateur societies indeed some of the more flattering patrons press a professional status upo the Society 1 This year there were ripples of excitement and apprehension as it was learnt that the play was to incorporate, not only female characters but real female actors. Gone were the days of attempting the nigh impossibe feat of creating a coy, blushing maiden from the rugged, lusty material contained in a third or fourth year boy. Naturally with a mixed group of actors and actresses, the choice of play was less restricted and the producer selected] Ustinov's "Romanoff and Juliet". The movement away from traditional "school plays" has been an encouraging feature of drama at P.G.S., but the attempt to create real theatre within a school obviously makes terrific demands upon both producer and produced.

Initially the great concern was, despite the interests of the popular press, to remove all notions of a gimmicky production and this was successfully accomplished. The audiences immediately accepted the strange sight of girls from P.G.G.S. treading the boards of the Spencer Briggs Hall with skill and enthusiasm.

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It is never easy to be selectively critical of members of a cast, because the overall impression taken away by an audience is a fusion of all the individual roles plus the visual effects of set, lighting and makeup. However, it would be remiss not to mention the most impressive split-level, open- fronted set, incorporating two embassies and a town square with a clock-tower. The attempt at creating depth with the use of lighting and backcloth came over well, as did the use of the entire width of the stage. This setting was an original, designed and built for this production, and was not cribbed from the professional stage. Against this ambitious set, the characters played out their modern fairy-tale of East-West politics.

Steven Jones, as the General, was quite impressive and brought a sensible interpretation to the script. Barry Jonsberg (Hooper Moulsworth) maintained his American accent and had a powerful delivery, whilst Philip Ashton (Vadim Romanoff ) was rather stiff and formal , using gestures perhaps beyond the bounds of the character. Tony Stein (Igor Romanoff) gave a sound portrayal in spite of his lack of stage experience, but as the tender scenes with Juliet (played very capably by Barbara May) developed, he lapsed somewhat as the strain told. John Robinson (Spy) was far tod conscious of the presence of the audience and played the part for laughs - almost waiting for audience approval before delivering his "punch-lines". Carol Quirk (Beulah.) was just right as the demanding and dominant American wife, but Janet Longman as the Russian equivalent, needed a little more liveliness to quicken the pace. Derek French (Freddie) had difficulty with his accent, and his wooden stage gestures Left something to be desired. George Wood (Archbishop) was a remarkably decrepit person, and brought a degree of relevance to the part .

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If we are to judge the presentation oy professional (or good amateur) standards, then the makeup was below par, but even so it was most acceptable and is sure to improve. The fact that mistakes are made is inevitable, but the important thing is that there are more and more boys involved in back-stage work. If these comments are harsh, remember the members of the Society want to be judged in "real theatre" terms.
To the Producer, Mr. Roberts, all the cast and the technical staff ; congratulations for giving the citizens of Prescot and district an interesting theatrical experience. On a wider scale, the Dramatic Society is conscious of its responsibilities to encourage the appreciation and enjoyment of stage-work, and plans are in hand for many new developments next year.
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CAST LIST  
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First Soldier ...................... John Saunders
Second Soldier .................. Dave Robinson
The General ...................... Steven Jones
Hooper Moulsworth ......... Barry Jonsberg
Vadim Romanoff .............. Phillip Ashton
Igor Romanoff .................. Tony Stein
Juliet Moulsworth ............ Barbara May
The Spy .................................. John Robinson
Beulah Moulsworth ............... Carol Quirk
Evdokia Romanoff ................. Janet Longman
Marfa Zlotochienko ................Elizabeth Rogers
Freddie Vanderstuyt .............. Derek French
The Archbishop ...................... George Wood
Clock Figures ......................... R.Burns, I.Harrison J.Gardner, R.Barton

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