The Devil’s Disciple


Woden magazine Summer 1965
Last updated: 31 Mar 02


For our School Play this year we made a second attempt at Shaw; in 1959 we chose “Caesar and Cleopatra” as our first full length play on the stage built in 1958. “The Devil’s Disciple” was a very different show from the earlier one; whereas we had opportunity in “Caesar” to put half of the upper school on the stage, we had this year to cut our cloth to suit a much smaller band of enthusiasts. The smaller cast we had available settled very admirably into the tightly-knit material of the play, and into the narrow confines of abundantly furnished indoor scenes to which our stage is not easily adapted.

We had the same sort of ill-luck as last year in that the illness of the leading male forced us to bring in a new actor to the main part at very short notice. Fry, however, who took Heaven’s place, worked with great enthusiasm and achieved a marked personal triumph as Dick Dudgeon. One reason why the play was chosen was that several of the characters seemed ready-made for the particular talents of our actors; Foulkes seized every opportunity to exploit the cutting irony that Shaw wrote into Burgoyne, Share produced an intelligent version of the dim-witted country lad, and Smith rolled his way through two acts in a most satisfactorily parsonical fashion. Perhaps the greatest surprise was the performance of Harrison, who has not previously taken a lead, as a very British stiff-upper-lipped Major Swindon.

The girls who come from Hydes Road each year to help us have always earned praise, but this year’s group earn special mention since they were all girls from the 3rd Form trying to give the same sort of version of serious adult behaviour as the VI Form boys with whom they acted. That no-one other than those who were told realised this is probably the finest compliment one could pay to their performances.

The setting and costumes came in for their usual amount of praise. We were forced to hire a good deal of furniture and a whole set of military uniforms, but the main characters were clad again in our mothers’ best efforts and this more than anything set the period without strain and gave the actors a good start in establishing the necessary atmosphere. The centre-piece of the setting was this year a magnificent chimney piece in two versions, carefully created as a focus for the furniture we had to arrange around it. It is perhaps easy for the layman to realise how much work goes into rehearsal, but very few people seem to know the hours of patient labour necessary to make costume and scenery.

Mrs Dudgeon Jillian Hill
Essie Roselind Spraggs
Christie Dudgeon M J E Share
Minister Anderson I N Smith
Mrs Anderson Marina Cash
Uncle William P C Jeavons
His Wife Judith Wearing
Uncle Titus R S Edwards
His Wife Rosemary Clark
Lawyer Hawkins K R Noakes
Dick Dudgeon G B Fry
Sergeant M J Murray
Major Swindon K J Harrison
General Burgoyne B Foulkes
Chaplain Brudenell M Roberts-Thomas
Officers: B S Hayward, R S Walters, P R Thomas
Soldiers: D J Wilson, A R Palmer, M G Nicholson, M P Banks, J K Guest, D J Richards