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Full text of "East Carolina Teachers College Bulletin Five Years Of Progress In Dramatics The Chi Pi Players"

VOL. 33 August, 1942 NO. 3 

EAST CAROLINA TEACHERS COLLEGE 
BULLETIN 



FIVE YEARS OF PROGRESS IN DRAMATICS 
THE CHI PI PLAYERS 



By 
CLIFTON BRITTON 



GREENVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA 



Published tour times a year March, May, August, and December. Entered 

as second-class matter March L6, L936 al the Post < Ifflce at Qreenvllli , N C, 

under Acl of Congress Augusl 24, L912 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

Foreword 5 

The Chi Pi Players 7 

Chance for Everyone 8 

Chi Pi's Evaluation 1 10 

Stages of Progress 12 

College Courses for Dramatics Students 15 

An Experiment in Children's Drama 17 

Points of View 19 

The Director 19 

The Leading Character 26 

A Minor Character 27 

The Stage Manager 22 

The Costumer 28 

First Grade 29 

Fifth Grade 30 

High School 35 

College Student 35 

The Sponsors 37 

Programs of Plays Marking Progress 39 

List of Chi Pi Plays 59 



FOREWORD 

Dramatic activities at East Carolina Teachers College have been 
largely centralized in one organization and under the leadership 
of one person for a period covering approximately five years. In 
this time dramatics as an extra-curricular activity has taken on 
new meanings and has become a vital campus-wide force. This, 
furthermore, has been without benefit of formal faculty super- 
vision, although not without faculty support. 

The school has always encouraged dramatics and has had a 
reputation for giving good plays from its earliest years. Every 
senior class has given a play, and so have literary societies, clubs, 
lower classes and other groups given plays. Each of these was 
until late years, however, a unit within itself each working 
separately for one production. Members of the faculty directed 
many of these and faculty sponsors and committees were pressed 
into service as assistants. For others, directors from outside 
were engaged and the list of these guest directors is an imposing 
one. 

For two years, 1933-1935, this College was the center of a 
Federal project in community drama, with the director for the 
district in charge of dramatics in the College. She also taught a 
class in play production. For the first time there was serious 
attention given to play production or theatre arts. Enthusiastic 
groups did excellent work, a dramatics club, "The Maskers," was 
organized and a number of plays were given. It seemed that at 
last a well-organized program was to be carried out, but when the 
director was called elsewhere, the group was left without a 
leader. 

In the fall of 1936 a young man entered college who stepped 
into leadership. For the six years since, Clifton Britton has been 
leader in virtually all dramatic activities on the campus, except 
those connected with class work. 

He entered college with a reputation for achievement in dra- 
matics that had preceded him. He came from a county that had 
a little theatre, the Northampton County Little Theatre, and 
where the children in the schools were brought up on dramatics. 
He scarcely remembers when he first took interest in plays but 
his first success was when he directed a play for the seventh 
grade, his own class. From then on throughout high school days 
followed in rapid succession play after play on which he worked, 
either playing a role, directing, advertising, constructing scenery, 
or doing technical work. All this was under the training of the 
Milwaukee Community Players. In the gap between high school 






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and college he was busy assisting with high school plays in 
neighboring counties as well as his own. 

His dramatic career he expected to be interrupted by college 
but he found that he was only entering a broader field. In his 
first term, as a Freshman, he was called upon to direct the senior 
play, a precedent unknown perhaps on any campus. After a sig- 
nal success with the Senior play in the fall, followed by another 
success with the Senior-normal play in the spring, his reputation 
was firmly established and it has been growing ever since. For 
the past two years he has been official director of dramatics for 
the College. At the same time he was working for his Master's 
degree in the field of English, which he received in June of this 
year. His thesis, under the title "Behind Red Velvet," is a hand- 
book for high school English teachers interested in coaching 
dramatics. 

The dramatics club, the Chi Pi Players, organized his second 
year in College, and has been a kind of laboratory for him in 
which he could work out his ideas, test theories, and experiment. 
All the facilities of the College have been at his disposal for this 
work and he has had the full cooperation not only of his major 
department, English, but of all others. He has been an eager 
student, working with singleness of purpose. "The play's the 
thing!" 

He was one of forty students chosen by a New York Board of 
Directors from over two thousand applicants to study at the 
Plymouth Drama Festival at Plymouth, Massachusetts. There 
his work met with marked approval. 

The climax of his college career, he says, was when the Chi Pi 
Players in the spring received the certificate of highest award 
from the Carolina Dramatics Association. Their success is his. 

This bulletin is in a measure a report of the work of this or- 
ganization prepared by their leader. Their achievement is told 
in terms of records of plays that show stages of progress. One 
may from the various points of view catch something of the 
spirit that is back of this achievement. It is an account of what 
has been done in one college by a group of students, amateurs 
working for high standards of dramatic art, under intelligent 
leadership. 

The following pages speak for themselves. 

Mamie E. Jenkins, 
Of the English Department. 



[6] 



THE CHI PI PLAYERS 

The official dramatics organization of East Carolina Teachers 
College, The Chi Pi Players, in the spring of 1937, began its work 
with the following purposes: to give students practical ex- 
perience in dramatic interpretation and production ; to promote 
interest in dramatic activity; to develop the creative talent of 
the students; to encourage the reading and witnessing of better 
plays; and to promote enthusiasm for artistic values. 

Every teacher-training institution should face honestly this 
situation: that far too many students remain artistically 
illiterate. It is part of the Chi Pi Players' work to give every 
student who is training to be a teacher experiences which will 
help him to understand the contribution which artistic expression 
can make to his life and to the lives of his future students. As 
the student takes part in dramatics, he gains not only the per- 
sonal quickening which all expressional activity involves, but 
also an increasing awareness of the reality and importance of 
artistic values. The club emphasizes the fact that dramatic 
experience is readily available to more students than other forms 
of artistic experience because it is more nearly allied to life. This 
means that through participation in dramatics the student be- 
comes actively aware, aware because it is part of his own personal 
life, of the value of artistic activity. Another objective of the 
club is to train its members to act not only as individuals, but as 
individuals cooperating with others to attain a social goal, and 
cooperating, they insist, means actually "working with." 

The Players have only two strict regulations for membership. 
Every person must make and maintain an average grade of 
"three" before he is eligible and after he is a member he must 
attend the regular monthly meetings. While there are no other 
specified rules, there is one unwritten law that is rigidly enforced. 
and that is everybody must work. The club believes in young 
men and women and strives to bring out the best in each one. 

The organization has been very progressive in its five years 
of activity. It began with one spotlight and today has the best 
stage-lighting system in Eastern North Carolina. A well- 
equipped green room, a make-up laboratory, a property and 
costume room, and a scenic shop are now our own in place of the 
teachers' class rooms, in the halls, and in odd cornei-s. Starting 
with a few pieces of scattered scenery, the club has now approxi- 
mately $3,000 worth of equipment. 

The club is a member of the North Carolina Dramatic Asso- 
ciation which entitles it to participate in the state Drama 
Festival at the University. In this year's festival the players 
won the Certificate of the Highest Award for their production of 

[ 7] 



"Rainbows in Heaven" and received the highest citation from 
Director Samuel Selden. 

Those who have gone out from the College have benefited 
greatly by the work of this organization in that the knowledge 
of dramatic art gained while members has been of untold value 
to those who have entered the teaching profession, and has given 
those who are not teaching a better appreciation of drama. A 
number trained here have charge of dramatics activities in 
schools or are leaders in community dramatics. A few have con- 
tinued their study and have become professionals. 

Strong determination and hard work have distinguished The 
Chi Pi Players and it stands out as one of the leading organi- 
zations on the campus and one of the foremost dramatic societies 
in the state. 

CHANCE FOR EVERYONE 

The Chi Pi Players believe one of the most favorable ways to 
learn dramatic art is by actual experience in production. During 
a year's program every member is given opportunity to work 
with one of the major plays. Here the student may gain valuable 
training in such fields as acting, directing, costuming, lighting, 
stage management, construction and painting of scenery, and 
make-up. He is instructed by one of the senior members who 
has proved in a previous production or productions his ability in 
that particular field. 

A beginner may change jobs as often as he wishes or whenever 
he thinks he understands thoroughly his immediate duties and 
wants to test his ability in another field. Therefore, most all of 
the college productions employ large casts and a full technical 
staff. In a year's time it is possible for a student to act in a 
production, stage manage, operate sound and be an assistant to 
the master electrician. Seldom does a student perform the same 
duties twice during a season, except those officially appointed by 
the director and approved by the president of the organization. 

Dramatic art at East Carolina Teachers College is directed 
toward developing and promoting the personal growth of the 
student. In this belief the Players choose their plays with great 
care and thought. Their test for the real value of a play is the 
effect upon the students who work with it. If they grow to like 
it better as they rehearse it, see new meanings, new beauty, and 
a real challenge to their creative and artistic abilities, then the 
play is worth doing. 

The plays here presented have stood that test, and each has 
been a stepping stone to the Players' outstanding reputation for 
producing good theatre. The plays have been of different types, 
and have afforded the many students who worked with them rare 
opportunities to vary their experiences. 

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s < 

it 



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A CHI PI'S EVALUATION 

Chi Pi encourages its members to active dramatics. The 
Players do everything from finding properties to assisting in 
directing. One member, in fact, acted as assistant director, 
played a number of major leads, assisted on make-up, worked as 
stage hand, designed costumes for an eighteenth century pro- 
duction and attempted scenery construction. The girl also car- 
ried a maximum scholastic load. This illustration may serve to 
point out the deep interest that can be aroused in a college 
student to turn idleness into creative energy. 

A college senior, mentally alert but with a personality that had 
had no more opportunity for developing than that of a receding 
shadow, found herself cast in an important production. Her size 
was partly responsible for her selection as the character, but her 
physical suitability and aimable desires could not offset her deep 
fear. She was afraid, afraid of being herself. So much so that 
the idea of pretending to be someone else lured her, but be- 
wildered her at the same time. The obvious result was painful 
stage fright. Many a dramatic group would have forced her out 
by her own feeling of her lack of adequacy, but not this one. 
That possible personality was as important as the minor char- 
acter interpretation in the play. This change in attitude brought 
remarkable results — for not only was the performance finally 
acceptable, but the rigorous over-hauling done to the individual 
brought out a more definite personality, and she became success- 
ful as a student teacher, where failure might have resulted. The 
more correct placing of vocal tones gave her surety, and success 
before her friends gave her confidence. 

Chi Pi is expanding beyond the local horizon, for the organi- 
zation is not only interested in developing individuals, but is 
interested also in bringing honor to the college. This can best 
be done by competition with other colleges. In the spring of 
'41, the Players first entered the Eastern drama festival by the 
presentation of a one-act fantasy which received second place. 
The following spring found the organization better prepared for 
more active participation in the festival program. This time the 
entry was a mountain farce whose district success enabled the 
players to attend the festival at Chapel Hill, where, in addition 
to first rating, it received a high citation. At the same festival 
honorable mention was also made for original costumes, and a 
number of members entered the make-up contest. More em- 
phasis on the type of work that will bring such recognition will 
be one of the specific aims in the Players' further experiments. 

A challenge extended to its members by the Chi Pi has often 
been answered. The girl who learned to take harsh criticism and 

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kept that cheery twinkle, the boy who swallowed his pride and 
allowed a younger girl to polish his pronunciation, the Beau 
Brummel who played a brief "walk-on," the awkward girl whose 
role forced her to dance a lilting ballet step, these have answered 
the challenge along with countless others. 

Recognition must be given any organization that can arouse 
constructive enthusiasm by overcoming an indifferent and aim- 
less lack of personal accomplishment. 

— Rnii Bray. 



[11] 



STAGES OF PROGRESS 

The Chi Pi Players, in their five years of activity have made 
steady growth, each play marking some definite stage of progress. 
They have produced various types of plays and many that 
amateurs rarely attempt. Evidence of their success has been the 
large audiences that they have drawn, not only from the college 
community but from distant counties and towns. 

Further evidence of success has been shown by criticism from 
the discriminating people who have come to judge some of the 
plays as theatre. Among these have been directors of high 
school, Little Theatre, and college groups. No less valuable has 
been the criticism from nearer home, the college faculty. 

The work of our dramatics group actually started six years 
ago, as those who worked together on plays for one year felt the 
need of an organization. 

The production of "Smilin' Through" really marked the begin- 
ning of the Chi Pi Players' career on this campus. The audience 
seemed delighted with what they called "effective staging" of 
that first play, especially the lighting effects. The only lighting 
equipment available for special lighting effects was a couple of 
spot lights with fruit jars for dimmers. 

Since that time the stage of Austin Building, which has been 
our stage for the entire time, has been the scene of many pro- 
ductions. With each of these some new bit of equipment has 
been added ; and each play has left some lasting distinctive im- 
print in the memory of those who worked with or saw it. 

In the second play, "Tweedles," by Leon Wilson and Booth 
Tarkington, which was the last in a series of annual senior- 
normal plays, were introduced the first off-stage sound effects. 
The sound of the ocean in the distance and a musical background 
were great aids in giving desired effects. 

"Children of the Moon" was a far more difficult production and 
did much to establish the reputation of the Players. This tragedy 
requires excellent acting and has stirring dramatic scenes. It is 
an universal study of insanity and demands much research by the 
director and cast. The young woman who plays the leading role 
learns of the taint of insanity in her family line and under the 
power of suggestion exerted on her by her jealous mother, yields 
herself to the madness she seems powerless to escape. This play 
was the play that won the director a scholarship to the Plymouth 
Drama Festival, and gave him an opportunity to work in the pro- 
fessional Theatre. The director used a cut version of the play for 
his entrance recital. 

The first money spent for lighting equipment, which is now 
valued at $1,200, was purchased for this play. Six spotlights 

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were bought, but there was no equipment for mounting them so 
they were hung on broomstick handles. 

A farce, "The Milky Way," presented in December, 1939, was 
notable for its fast tempo. The comic effects brought much 
laughter and at the right places, a much desired audience re- 
action. The play established versatility. 

A comedy drama, "Stage Door," in the same year stands out 
because of the skill required in the direction of an extremely 
large cast. Those who know dramatic work say that it is hard 
for a director to keep balance in the stage pictures when so many 
players are on the stage. Of the thirty-two in the cast of "Stage 
Door," as many as twenty-seven were on the stage at one time. 
The stage pictures, however, were formed and dissolved so that 
the characters never seemed to get in one another's way. 

The work back stage in this had need of constant direction 
also, for there were twenty-two girls to be dressed and made-up. 
Seventeen girls who needed only straight make-up as young 
women were put in a row and made-up "en masse" by one member 
of the make-up staff while others worked on the "character 
parts." One hundred sixty dresses and sixty-nine pairs of shoes 
were in the dressing rooms for the production. Chaos would have 
resulted if this play had been attempted at an earlier stage, 
before the members of the cast and staff had learned the art of 
working together. 

The most striking play, in some respects, of the past five years 
was "The Skull," a comedy-mystery given in November, 1940. 
Though it was a comedy, it had a weird and ghostly atmosphere 
that sent cold chills down one's spine. This effect was built up 
largely by the use of lights. Ghostly greenish lights that, with 
the good lighting system then in use, which could be dimmed 
down and brought up at will, were used. This play has been 
described as having the greatest audience appeal of any on the 
list produced here in recent years. 

The production of "Ramona" in February 1941 was the world's 
premiere of the play as adapted for the stage by Arthur Jearue 
from Helen Hunt Jackson's novel. This, a romantic drama based 
on the decay of the Spanish-American regime and the extinction 
of the American Indian, stands out for its beautiful staging. The 
sets were striking in color and the stage highly picturesque. A 
particularly impressive scene showed Alessandro, the Indian 
lover of Ramona, looking down over the lands of his fathers, his 
arms upraised, crying, "They are a pack of thieves and liars, 
everyone of them. They are going to steal all the land in this 
country. We all might just as well throw ourselves into the sea 
and let them have it." 

[13] 



The successful creation of the tragic and bitter mood demanded 
by "Wuthering Heights," distinguished that play. This mood 
was created by the interpretation of character, the sombre sets 
that provided the background, and the effective lighting. All of 
the scenery and costumes for this production were made on the 
campus. This, by the way, was also a leader in box office 
receipts. 

In the presentation of "Double Door," a melodrama, one of the 
best plays of the current year, an interesting point was that 
practically every member of the cast was new to the stage here. 
Despite that fact, there was much excellent acting in the play, 
and none was really poor. For this production, the full lighting 
system, which had at last been completed, was used— eleven 
dimmers, twenty-four spotlights, and two X-rays — all controlled 
by a switchboard. A new sound system had just been installed 
and was used for the first time in this play. 

"Little Black Sambo" was the first children's play to be pre- 
sented by the college for the sake of the children. Although the 
direction was worked out primarily for children, the play was 
obviously enjoyed by the many adults who saw it. This play 
stirred in the Chi Players the hope that East Carolina Teachers 
College might some day become a center in this section for the 
children's theatre as the University is for the folk play and adult 
drama. 

The highest peak was the presentation by an advanced cast 
of Henrik Ibsen's "A Doll's House." This was the Players first 
attempt to present a classic and the results were highly grati- 
fying. Patrons of the theatre in Eastern Carolina seldom get a 
chance to see one of Ibsen's plays and the Chi Pi Players are 
delighted to please the section they serve. The cast was honored 
by having a native Norwegian present at the opening night to 
offer suggestions and criticisms. She had seen the play given in 
Christiana, her native city, in other places in Europe, and in New 
York. She said, "I am glad to see Ibsen is not dead in America" 
and spoke highly of the production as a whole and commended 
especially the leading lady's interpretation of Nora. 

The outstanding creative drama is the annual production of 
"Victory over Death" a beautiful and impressive pageant-drama 
portraying the Passion story. The interesting feature of this 
production is that everything connected with the production was 
created by people here on the campus — the adaptation from the 
Scriptures for the stage, the designing and building of sets, the 
making of costumes, and the directing of the production. Over 
a hundred and twenty-five students and faculty members worked 
on it. Approximately 3,600 persons have witnessed the four per- 
formances in the past two years. 

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It has been the aim of the organization not to present plays 
for entertainment value only, but also to present them as a part 
of the general culture that should be obtained from college life. 

The program mapped out for the year ahead 1942-43 includes ; 
"The Man Who Came to Dinner," "Ladies in Retirement," "Jack 
and the Beanstalk," "Remember the Day," and "Victory over 
Death." 

COLLEGE COURSES FOR DRAMATICS STUDENTS 

While there is no department of Dramatics at East Carolina 
Teachers College, students wishing to receive instruction in 
dramatic art for the purpose of teaching and directing in high 
school or planning to work for a degree in dramatics at some 
other school later will find some of the courses will be of great 
value to them. Any students especially desiring to work in 
dramatics as an extra-curricular activity either in their schools 
or communities will be wise to choose one or more of these courses 
as an elective. 

Oral English, English 218, is a course planned to develop good 
speech habits and the ability to talk well before a group. Drills 
are given to correct the common errors in grammar and to 
establish correct pronunciation and clear enunciation. The in- 
structor places emphasis on effective oral reading, short-topic 
discussion, and participation in meetings. Voices of the students 
are recorded. 

The Shakespeare Course, English 325, is invaluable for all 
interested in any phase of dramatics. 

The Modern Drama, English 314, in which representative 
modern dramatists, Maeterlinck, Hauptmann, Galsworthy, Barrie, 
Shaw, O'Neill, and other contemporaries are studied with atten- 
tion paid to types and movements, is a rich course for aspiring 
dramatics students. 

Current Broadway plays, in English 230 are studied from the 
point of view of those interested in the theatre, and in the reading 
of plays for pleasure. Such plays as "The Corn is Green," "The 
Little Foxes," "Life With Father," "Watch on the Rhine," and 
"Junior Miss" are cut and read aloud. This is a one-point labora- 
tory course for which the students meet for a two-hour period 
once a week. 

High School Dramatics, English 330, offers a study and prac- 
tice in the elementary principles of producing plays, tor the 
purpose of helping the high school teacher-director. Bach 
student before completing the course is required to take part in 

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one production and develop a complete set of plans for producing 
a play. 

English 331 is somewhat of a continuation of English 330 with 
emphasis placed on the various theories of directing and on 
methods in rehearsal. 

English 332 is a more advanced course with emphasis on acting 
and interpretation. During the course the student will be given 
an opportunity to interpret scenes from current and world-famous 
plays and study the more advanced theories of acting. 

Home Economics 215 is a course that should be of interest to 
those who enjoy the designing of costumes. The study makes 
application of the principles of design to dress. A study of 
national and historic costumes forms the basis for designing 
modern costumes. 

Grace and poise are required of every good actor whether he 
be an amateur or professional. A student of dramatics should 
make an attempt to train himself to get the largest and freest 
sense of action from the least possible effort. Grace is pleasing 
for the obvious reason that it is human nature to dislike un- 
necessary effort. An audience, furthermore resents awkward- 
ness because people cannot help feeling embarassed for the awk- 
ward person. Therefore, every beginning student of dramatics 
should start his college career with courses that will train his 
body. The courses at East Carolina Teachers College are in the 
Department of Physical Education as: Fencing, Folk Dancing, 
Clog and Character Dancing, and Social Dancing, which are re- 
spectively numbers 22, 112, 107, and 111. 



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AN EXPERIMENT IN CHILDREN'S DRAMA 

During the fifth year of their experience in play production, 
the Players were ready to expand and venture into new fields of 
the drama. The desire to produce a children's play had been 
aroused by their seeing a Clare Tree Major production of "Alice 
in Wonderland," presented at the college and sponsored by the 
American Association of University Women. This opportunity 
soon came for them earlier than they expected. The A.A.U.W. 
requested them to present a play for children to be sponsored 
by them the next season. It was, they knew, a tribute to be 
asked to follow the Clare Tree Major Players. The play selected 
was "Little Black Sambo." 

The College students then entered into a new field of work — 
children's drama. An exceedingly important part of the experi- 
ment was to convince the college students that there was, with- 
out doubt, a growing interest in children's theatres throughout 
the world, and that the next twenty years is likely to see much 
history made in child drama. Whether it will come through the 
efforts of the amateur or the professional theatre is impossible to 
say. 

A definite educational policy governed the production of "Little 
Black Sambo." Standards in staging and acting were kept as 
high as for any previous production. Actors were encouraged 
to work out their own interpretations of the characters they 
played in such a way that the child would have a satisfying 
realization of them. Neighborhood families, and public school 
teachers were inspired by the enthusiasm of their children and 
students to acquaint them with the story before they came to see 
it. One neighborhood had a group study of it. Sometimes, 
during rehearsal periods, a critic teacher from the Training 
School was invited to discuss with the cast what the children 
expected of the production and what would be their reactions to 
certain scenes. The producers and sponsors made every effort 
to bring about a general appreciation of the drama they were pre- 
senting. 

Efforts were made to give every child the opportunity to sec 
the play and enjoy every minute. 

To help create the mood of story-land the children were greeted 
at the front door by ushers who were dressed as Donald Duck, 
Mickey Mouse, Snow White and Dopey, favorite characters I'mm 
children's literature and current moving picture shows. 

For one entire afternoon and evening the Austin Auditorium, 
the Chi Pi Players' Playhouse, was dedicated to the purpose of 

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bringing new and delightful experiences to boys and girls, ex- 
periences which would broaden interests and bring about a finer 
understanding of people. 

So valuable was this experiment that it was a pity it existed 
for so short a time. One cannot help wondering how far and 
how deep the influence of that production went, and whether 
today there are still many teachers and students who think of 
their connection with it as one of the most enjoyable dramatic 
experiences of their lives. There are encouraging signs that 
there will be more children's plays, signs that point in the direc- 
tion of the "shining towers and crimson banners." 



[18J 



POINTS OF VIEW 

The director is always interested in knowing what those in the 
performance take away with them and in having some audience 
analysis. Various points of views are presented in the following 
pages. 

Representatives of different groups were requested to give 
their reactions to the play and the director himself takes the lead 
by presenting some of his problems and impressions, and some of 
the ways and means by which he secured effects. The producing 
is further represented by the stage manager and the costumer. 
From the cast by the leading character and one who took a minor 
role, one popular with the children speak. Instead of children 
themselves giving their impressions, one teacher from each 
school level has reported on the way in which it was received by 
the school children. A college student who knows production but 
was merely one of the audience that night is the spokesman for 
the college students. This section could hardly close without a 
statement from the sponsors The American Association of 
University Women. 

PROBLEMS OF THE DIRECTOR 

"Places everybody ! The director wants to see the entire com- 
pany on the stage. Places everybody!" shouted the stage man- 
ager from the second-floor flyroom. In less than four minutes 
twelve boys and girls assembled on the main stage for the first 
blocking rehearsal of "Little Black Sambo and the Tigers." The 
cast included faculty, children of the faculty, football players, 
musicians, cheer leaders, History, English, and Primary majors. 
A few of the members had had dramatic experience in previous 
plays while others had never before been on any stage. Among 
the group stood a very small boy from the City High School who 
had been chosen to play the title role of "Little Black Sambo." 
The director faced his first major problem of the production — to 
direct the experienced and the inexperienced college students, 
who were adults, and an adolescent, a high school student. 

The more aggressive members of the cast had to learn to be 
patient, and to modulate their parts in accordance with the needs 
of the whole scene. The timid high school student with down- 
cast eyes, afraid to speak above a whisper, had to be taught that 
he was wanted and that he had his place, that as In- had the 
leading part the college students would wait for him and that lie 
must speak out loud and clear. The inexperienced players had to 
go through a period of training in stage technique. They were 

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given every opportunity for expressional activity in a cooperative 
situation. Throughout the entire rehearsal period they were en- 
couraged to discover the reality of artistic values. They learned 
about art not simply as something other people talked about or 
something the director believed in, but they learned by taking 
part in a creative process. 

Broad comedy is understood and enjoyed by children far more 
than is subtle comedy. Directing the cast to paint with rather 
bold splashes and bright colors was another of major concern. 
It may be said, however, that this practice can easily go too far 
and insult the intelligence of the audience. While they were 
cautioned not to over do the many comical actions ; they were told 
to be spontaneous and act with freedom. Football players had 
to crawl around on their hands and knees, stand on their heads, 
leap through the air as fierce tigers ; the girls had to learn various 
mannerisms of the jungle monkeys, swinging over the stage on 
artificial vines and climb trees in order to satisfy the director. 
Occasionally the stage manager would have to bring out the first 
aid kits and bandage the scratches from projecting nails in un- 
finished scenery or nurse wounds inflicted from the director's 
scolding. 

To be an actor in a theatre for children was a new and re- 
sponsible specialty for the Chi Pi Players. They quickly realized 
during the early rehearsals that children must be given good art. 
Artistry was to be obtained only by considering the audience of 
supreme importance. Respect for the children who were to see 
the play superseded all other considerations. Knowing how im- 
portant such matters really are, the director worked constantly 
to equip each actor with endurance, enthusiasm and loyalty — 
these would give a quality to their acting which would convince 
by sincerity and mellow interpretation. Such achievement on the 
part of a director can only be reached by long study and by 
constant practical work in rehearsals. 

Each rehearsal period brought about new responsibilities until 
there were by actual count one hundred and fifty problems to be 
solved at one time. The stage manager had scenic designs to be 
checked, the electrician believed there was no lighting effect that 
would please the director and the actors, one by one, had to report 
by a schedule covering practically every hour of the day for 
special coaching. Thus the problems kept accumulating until 
the opening performance, by the laity called "dress rehearsal." 
Not even then can he be sure that the solutions are right, for 
corrections must be made until the last curtain falls. 

One measure of the director's success, especially in children's 
plays, is in the response of the audience. 

[21] 



Approximately 950 children attended the matinee and for two 
hours lived in the enchanted land of Make-Believe. Grown-ups 
as well as children were held in its magic spell. Many were seen 
again at the evening performance, shepherding groups of bor- 
rowed or underprivileged children if they had none of their own 
to bring. 

After the matinee performance the director stood in the back 
of the auditorium and watched this enthusiastic group of children 
rush to the stage to shake hands with the characters in one of 
their favorite stories. They were eager to touch the white fur of 
Malinke, the friendly monkey, and admired the courage and 
wisdom of Little Black Sambo who out-witted the man-eating 
tigers. 

During this great procession the director had a vision of a 
children's theatre for children at East Carolina Teachers College. 
A theatre that will produce fine and more significant plays which 
will help the children of the State to interpret life more truly, to 
build a better society, to develop greater appreciation of beauty, 
discriminating taste in art, and by such means bring great and 
lasting happiness to boys and girls. 

STAGE MANAGER 

My official position in the Chi Pi Players is Stage Manager. 
When we decided to present "Little Black Sambo," I was ex- 
pecting an easy time of it. "That'll be a push-over," I thought, 
but I soon found how wrong I was. I have never had such a 
hectic time with a greater variety of jobs in my whole dramatic 
career. I soon realized that "Little Black Sambo" was going to 
require more hard work of our staff than any play I had worked 
on previously. I was obliged to help do everything from building 
up sets to manufacturing ostrich eggs, jungle flowers, palm trees, 
and corn grinders. At rehearsals I was called on to take the parts 
of various characters during their absence, I even had to be a 
Mama Tiger with half a dozen cubs. 

A stage manager's job is second only to the director's. That 
might sound conceited, but if anything goes the least bit wrong, 
whom does the director blow up? The Stage Manager! My 
director always says that a stage manager does the most work to 
get the least credit of anyone connected with the entire dramatic 
set-up. Since this production, I agree that he is right. 

The set designer prepared for us a general design and pattern 
to be followed in filling in the bare stage and making it resemble 
a jungle. We first climbed to the third floor scenery room to see 
what scenery we already had that could be used. Four flats of 
faded trees and miscellaneous pieces of previously used scenery 
provided a solution to some of our problems. For the background, 

[22] 



we made use of a dull blue cyclorama, and with unusual lighting 
effects by our master electrician, a desired result was finally ob- 
tained. For bare corners and vacant spaces which needed dress- 
ing up, we had to look elsewhere for the other materials. 

"We've just got to have some jungle flowers, just gobs of 
lively colored blossoms," someone said. 

Three of us, Chi Pi "prexy," who was a wisp of a girl possessing 
boundless energy, the Chi Pi "Workhouse," who was a Freshman 
never seeming to tire, and Chi Pi Stage Manager, who was ex- 
pected to set an example by keeping on the go, got busy. For 
three weeks the three of us cut crepe paper into petal-shapes 
until we saw pink, blue, red, white, green, purple, yellow, orange, 
and silver petals on class and in our sleep. Then we clipped 
together the multi-colored strips into the best possible patterns. 
We tried straight pins, but they did not work. Luckily, someone 
had a bright idea, and we raided a nearby teacher's office and 
came out with a suitable solution, a paper stapler. For a week 
or two, the make-up room in the rear of the Green Room so 
closely resembled a gaudy floral shop that curious visitors 
imagined that they detected perfume drifting from the display of 
flowers. Once finished, they were hung from wires tacked above 
our heads. It was a heartwarming sensation to step back and 
admire our artistic results. One item was completed. 

Plans of the set demanded that Sambo, Black Mumbo, his 
mother, and Black Jumbo, his father, have a hut to call their 
home. We decided that a tobacco hogshead would fill the bill. 
A member of the A. A. U. W. secured for us the hogshead, which 
looked to us like an oversized rainbarrel, and we went to work 
on it. First, a top had to be made. This was covered with good 
old-fashioned broomstraw which gave an effect of natural thatch. 
Space had to be left for tying a rope to the hut, so that between 
scenes we could draw it up to the second floor flyroom. Here is 
where strong arms and tough hands were needed. With a 
guidance from those on the stage and strength from those above, 
the family residence of the "Black" trio was shifted from the 
sight of excited kids who swarmed the auditorium like flies on 
candy before sugar rationing. We had to cut a door in the hut 
and paint it to resemble bamboo. Evidently, we did a good job, 
because we heard no complaints. A platform was constructed 
for the base to give the height to the hut and to serve as a porch. 
Then, all was finished. 

Now comes something which psychologists should appreciate. 
In constructing the most notable piece of scenery in the produc- 
tion, the same three who were faced with the problem of making 
jungle flowers were faced with the problem of bringing forth a 

[23] 



palm tree. An auto trip to the country netted us a tree trunk, 
and with the help of a campus athlete, we unloaded it in the 
auditorium. A group of so-called workers were killing time 
sprawling over the stage and in the lighting room playing the 
latest records. Whistling contentedly, we built a base for the 
tree and set it up on the stage. A few loafers noticed us and 
laughed at the sawed-off tree. Some of them shouted, "Hey, 
that doesn't even look like it's kin to a palm tree." We smiled 
(outwardly) and kept on working. We must have looked as 
though we enjoyed it, for in a few minutes, several Chi Pi Players 
had gathered around us, asking if we needed any help. "Oh, no," 
we lied, "This is too much fun." The Tom Sawyer element had 
entered into the work, for soon, the group was begging to lend a 
hand. One by one, the three who had been jeered at drifted to 
the back of the auditorium, and from there we watched eager 
students straightening coat hangers and sliding green, tasseled 
celophane over the wire. These fronds were tacked onto the top 
of the tree. We three onlookers went back to the stage and 
directed the workers in mixing paint to be used in transforming 
the color of the bark of the Sweet Gum tree into rings of light and 
dark brown which adorn real palm trees. It was fun watching a 
home-made Palm tree "take root" and fun to say later, "I had a 
hand in that !" I thought, "So did I." 

Throughout the play, the term "corn grinder" occurred fre- 
quently. We did not know what Mumbo would use to grind her 
corn, but the same Freshman "Workhouse" had one of her many 
bright ideas. She procurred a cheese box from the College dining 
hall, turned the lid over, screwed it to the base of the box, and 
covered it with foul looking papier mache and fouler smelling 
glue. To this she added a handle and let the creation dry. By 
some trick of fate, it turned out to be, perhaps not a corn grinder, 
but a reasonable facimile. 

"We need some ostrich eggs," complained the property people 
during rehearsals. Two or three of our bunch were up town one 
rainy afternoon, and we ducked into a nearby grocery store to 
escape a fresh torrent. We had no idea that we could find any- 
thing suitable to use as ostrich eggs in a grocery store, but a 
glimpse at a basket of cocoanuts supplied us with a logical 
substitute. A close shave and a little white paint and Little Black 
Sambo had his long awaited eggs that night. The script called 
for a net in which to take the eggs, so we imposed upon the good 
nature of the Science Department by borrowing from them a net 
possessing strength enough to stand the weight of five ostrich 
eggs. Although the net had a rubber handle and a steel frame, no 
one questioned our use of it, even in the jungle wilds. 

[24] 






"How did you get the tigers to turn to butter?" asked the 
children after the matinee. We who knew never had the heart 
to tell them: "Oh that was just a trick of lighting effects and 
strips of yellow crepe paper." We let them go on believing that 
the tigers were in the stomach of Little Black Sambo in the form 
of "golden, melted butter . . . ." 

Two asides I'd like to make about something that is not stage 
management. A special feature of the show was a lullaby ren- 
dered by a voice student who played the part of Malinke, the 
White Monkey. The words and music were written by a popular 
music major enrolled at E.C.T.C. An equally remembered con- 
tribution was the chanting of a fire song by another voice student 
who portrayed Black Jumbo. 

We still lacked sugar cane, so we crowded into an auto and 
went on a search. Dry corn stalks painted green, we decided, 
would do, so we stopped beside a field of corn on some lonely 
country road. Unknown to Farmer Brown, we bundled up 
enough of the stalks and crammed them in the trunk of the car. 
After the painting job was over, the results were amazing, for 
after the matinee, a little boy came back stage and timidly asked 
me if I would give him some sugar cane to chew. He related to 
me how he had visited a farm once and had chewed some of the 
sweet stalks. I saved him a disappointment by saying that we 
had to use the cane that night for another performance. "Come 
back tonight and I'll give you some," I told him. Luckily, he 
never came back, for we of the cast hated to fool little children 
as much as they disliked being fooled. 

Five minutes before the curtain went up, that same Freshman 
who had been working on properties, and I were on the third 
floor in the property room looking for artificial flowers that might 
be found growing around the steps of the jungle hut. What we 
brought down and taped to the box used for the steps were none 
other than the flowers that Cathy, of "Wuthering Heights" had 
held in her frail hands during her death scene in a last year pro- 
duction. I casually asked some of the audience how they had 
looked. They might have been lying, but they told me that the 
flowers loked as if they had been set out and were growing 
naturally. 

Yes, "Little Black Sambo" created quite a stir among the chil- 
dren of Greenville and among students on the campus, but that 
was nothing compared to the work it demanded from the Chi Pi 
Players. No, I'm not complaining . . . I'm bragging, proud that 
I could play such an intimate part in such an absorbing experi- 
ment. 



I > W I <)\\ I \^ 



[25] 



THE LEADING CHARACTER 

"I certainly did enjoy the play." Never in my life have I 
appreciated words more than these I heard repeated over and 
over as hundreds of children, from the ages of one to twelve, 
walked slowly across the stage shaking hands with all the char- 
acters in the play, their beloved "Little Black Sambo." 

The play, "Little Black Sambo" may have been written en- 
tirely for the pleasure of children and the College put on this 
production for the purpose of entertaining the children, but a lot 
of grown people came to see it and enjoyed it. 

The first night I went over to the college for rehearsal I felt 
out of place, and at the start, I didn't think I was going to like 
this very much. Working with college students who had starred 
in plays, but when I saw football players drop their dignity to 
walk on their hands and knees, I felt a warm feeling of friend- 
ship, a friendship which grew as I knew the director and the cast 
better. Often, when I was not in the scene which was being 
practiced at the moment, some of the students would come up and 
ask me if I wouldn't like a drink from the "Y" Store. This I 
appreciated very much. 

The thing I found most difficult was getting into the character 
and making myself act as if I were a little native of a far-off 
jungle land. This problem became less difficult to me with the 
help of the other characters who seemed more able than I to 
keep in character most of the time. Another thing that helped 
me so much was the guidance of the director. Perhaps the most 
terrifying thing that confronted me was the task of learning the 
lines. Although I had taken dramatics for two previous years, 
I had never had a part with so many lines. I admire Mr. Britton 
for the way he went about getting us to learn our lines. Before 
we ever went on the stage to get our places, we spent several 
nights sitting around together just getting acquainted with our 
script. 

I found that I was starting as an inexperienced player, and that 
I had to work hard to give the director the accuracy with the 
lines and the precision in stage business and movements that he 
required. It took some time to learn to say the lines in the 
chants such as, "I want, — I want — my little red coat, I want, I 
want, my green umbrella, oh ! oh ! oh ! I want, I want my little 
purple shoes with crimson soles and linings." Each Saturday, 
for about two hours at the time, I would spend rehearsing these 
chants and my dancing routines. 

What interested me especially was the expert mechanism with 
which the stage manager and master electrician worked in getting 
things into order and the way in which the lights would flicker in 

[26] 






the fire dance. To me, these were as interesting as the play 
itself. The stage set was the prettiest I have ever seen. 

I found that the director was a "regular fellow" and he wasn't 
quite as hard as he at first appeared to be. He and the other 
people connected with "Little Black Sambo" gave me the most 
enjoyable four weeks of my life. 



-Tom Rowi.ktt. 



A MINOR CHARACTER 



Malinke! The very name brings back the feelings I had — 
of anticipation, of sadness, of happiness, of heartaches, of thrills 
— in the wonderful new experience I had of bringing to life Little 
Black Sambo's friend, Malinke, the good monkey. 

From try-outs to final curtain, Malinke became my best pal 
and I began to adopt her habits. 

At the afternoon performance I fully realized the importance 
of my part as Malinke. For then I knew for the first time I was 
really filling with great joy the hearts of many children because 
I was little Black Sambo's friend. It wasn't my acting that 
seemed to be important any more, but it was simply being 
Malinke in real life. As I jumped around the stage from side to 
side and spoke my lines I could feel a certain tension among the 
audience, sometimes children were screaming at the top of their 
voices, and then at times I could feel the children relaxing as if 
they were on that stage playing the part themselves. They were 
living "Little Black Sambo" as much as those portraying the 
characters. 

I remember an incident in the play which stands out clearly in 
my mind. During the fight between little Black Sambo and the 
tigers I could hear children's voices screaming from the audience 
as if to warn, "Look behind you little Black Sambo ! Run, 
Sambo! Look out Sambo!" Those voices showed they wanted 
to help Sambo and protect him ; and they saw me, Malinke, come 
to his rescue sometime later. I then visualized Malinke not as a 
stupid monkey but as a heroine. I could tell from these reactions 
of the audience that everything was satisfactory and that was all 
that mattered from then on. 

After the final curtain I felt as if my ideal has been realized, 
for the children who saw "Little Black Sambo" trailed Malinke 
with hero-worship. To watch hundreds of little faces look up at 
me and beam with joy because they could see, hear, and touch 
Malinke, filled me with a happiness that compensated for any 
strain I went through to create the illusion of real life. 

— Euoeni \ Am \ in trie 

[27] 



THE COSTUMER 

From the time that Eve arrayed herself in a spray of fig leaves, 
women (and men, too, if they would admit it) have been aware 
of the utter charm of costuming. 

So it was that we Chi Pi members interested in costumes gave 
whoops of joy last fall when Clifton announced that "Little Black 
Sambo" was to take a lead for the year's program of Chi Pi 
Productions. Not only is "Little Black Sambo" entirely different 
and entertaining but such a play would open unexplored vistas 
in costuming. 

And so after attending two or three play practices — where we 
laughed so hard at monkeys' pranks and tigers' tricks that it was 
impossible to concentrate, we finally got down to work. 

Clifton ordered costumes for all monkeys and tigers. With an 
eye to our budget, we ransacked the trunks in the small cubicle 
of a costume room on third floor Austin with these results : an 
old coat and shirt which were used for black Jumbo, and quite a 
lot of odds, ends, and trinkets for which we later found use. 

Just when we felt really under way, the costumes we had 
rented for the animal kingdom arrived. With horror, we dis- 
covered that the monkey's costumes were entirely impossible, 
those for the tigers were too small, and new material had to be 
ordered for the monkeys. So we called on those campus lassies 
who sew a fine seam — the Home Economics majors — who kindly 
consented to make all monkeys' paraphernalia and render the 
tigers' costumes usable by adding strips of white artificial far 
down the front side, as all animals have softer, lighter fur down 
under. Black Jumbo was minus a pair of pants, and Little Black 
Sambo was lacking his loin cloth, so these also the Home Eco- 
nomics girls consented to make for us. 

Black Mumbo needed a dress, which I proceeded to design and 
make, as I am a Home Economics major myself. 

Since little Black Sambo wouldn't be satisfied with just a loin 
cloth and cap, we started a collecting tour to clothe him in the 
wonder raiment from the "bazaar." The purple shoes with crim- 
son soles and crimson linings came from the five and ten. For 
the little white monkey, we borrowed a grass skirt. 

And so with miscellaneous turbans and ostrich feathers for 
Mumbo and Jumbo, strings of beads and bear claws for all, we 
put the costumes "to bed" and took a deep breath of relief until 
the Great Day of The Performance — and a good one it was, too. 

— Mary Sue Moork. 
[28] 






THE FIRST GRADE 

"Little Black Sambo" is one of the favorite stories of children. 
They enjoy hearing it and seeing pictures of it in their story 
books during their pre-school years and, after entering school, 
they continue to show interest through group and individual 
activities of various kinds as they mature in their ability to 
interpret what they feel. 

When the children heard that college students were going to 
dramatize Little Black Sambo for them they were delighted. 
They had to be familarized with the play version so they would 
not be confused by the differences between that and the story 
they knew, and this was done shortly before they saw the play. 
Every child in the grade had a ticket. The children listened and 
observed very attentively and laughed gleefully throughout the 
performance. 

Student teachers recorded these remarks of the children as 
they discussed the play the next day. Teacher and children 
agreed to put together the sentences that belonged together and 
send them as letters to the director and sponsors telling what 
they liked best. The teacher said, "I can make the letter sound 
much better by grouping all of the sentences about Little Black 
Sambo together and all of those about the tigers together and all 
those about rhythms together and so on so that the letter will 
have a good beginning, a good middle, and a good ending. The 
next day they finally had the letter ready to send as follows : 

Dear Mr. Britton, 

Your play was good. 

You acted well. 

You did a good job. 

Thank you for working so hard. 

We liked Little Black Sambo. 

We liked Little Black Sambo's shoes. 

We liked to see Little Black Sambo jump. 

We liked to see him shiver. 

We liked it when Little Black Sambo was giving the blue 
trousers to the tiger. 

We liked it when Little Black Sambo was putting the um- 
brella on the tiger. 

We liked the monkeys. 

We liked Malinke. 

We liked Tangalingalinga. 

We liked Mappo. 

We liked Zalulalula. 

[20] 



We liked Sonkoponyana. 

We liked the way they chattered. 

We liked the monkey swings. 

We liked the tigers. 

They sounded like real tigers. 

We liked the way the tigers jumped. 

We liked the tiger fight. 

We enjoyed it when they melted to butter. 

We liked the baby tiger. 

We put a picture of a tiger on our bulletin board. 

We liked Black Jumbo. 

His song was pretty. 

We liked Black Mumbo. 

We liked Donald Duck. 

We liked it when Donald Duck held the doll. 

Donald Duck picked up Redd. 

We liked Mickey Mouse. 

We liked Snow White. 

We liked Dopey. 

We liked Mr. Britton. 

We walked like tigers when we had rhythms today. 
We acted like monkeys, too. 

Frank jumped like Little Black Sambo when the tigers were 
after him. 

He shivered like Little Black Sambo, too. 

It was a nice play. 
We enjoyed it. 

Your friends, 
— Miss Redwine's Grade. 

These letters, one to Mr. Britton and one to the A.A.U.W., 
were sent through the local mail of the college post office ; but 
the play was not forgotten. It came up for discussion time and 
again. The most appealing parts were spontaneously dramatized 
by individuals and groups. Occasional references were made 
even six months later. It will live in their minds forever. 

— Anne Redwine, 

Critic Teacher, Training School. 

THE FIFTH GRADE OF THE TRAINING SCHOOL 

A group of ten and eleven year old children were in the midst 
of conference. One of the children was holding before the group 
a picture she had painted. The others were evaluating her work. 

[30] 



The picture was a landscape showing luxuriant growth. One 
child asked "What are those purple things on that bush?" 

"That?" asked the child, touching the "purple things." "They 
are flowers." 

"I thought they might be little Black Sambo's shoes," the 
inquirer replied. 

There was a chuckle of appreciation at the appropriateness of 
the idea. Others made comments, "It does look like them." "He 
might hang them on a bush like that." In other words that was 
a poetic thought quite in keeping with Little Black Sambo's 
poetic nature and all appreciated it as such. The group had unity 
of understanding of an individual and their manner of expressing 
their thoughts proved that Little Black Sambo was a living 
character to them. All, or almost all, of that group had seen the 
play "Little Black Sambo." A familiar story that had not grown 
stale had been given a new interpretation for them. Instead of 
feeling superior to a story learned in the first grade or earlier 
they had come to see it in a new light and with a new respect. 

After this play "Little Black Sambo" was presented by the 
Chi Pi Players a group of ten year old children were discussing 
it. Many expressed their opinions about it. One said, "I liked 
the way it showed that Little Black Sambo could go into the 
jungle if he carried fire. That showed how animals are different 
from people. I read a story one time about a boy that went and 
stole fire from the gods so people could have it." 

Another child said, "I liked the way it showed that all monkeys 
are not alike. Some are good and some are bad, just like people." 

Another commented, "I liked the song Little Black Sambo's 
father sang. It was about the rain and the sun and all that. It 
was about the important things." 

These and less profound comments showed the values to a 
group of children of a good play well presented. This play, 
based on a familiar story that had universal appeal, had helped 
them to read character, to interpret life. 

Another interesting outcome of this play was the type of 
reading it seemed to aid in stimulating. For quite a while fol- 
lowing the play these children were interested in reading books 
descriptive of the jungle. Kipling's books and Frank Buck's 
books were read by many children and "Life in Bengal Jungle" 
was read by the one who could manage it. This interest in jungle 
life was keenly alive six months later. A good play should open 
new avenues of interest. "Little Black Sambo" stood well that 
test. 

— Ci i o Rainwater, 
critic Teacher, Training School. 

[31] 




[32] 




[33] 



A PICTORIAL REVIEW OF "LITTLE BLACK SAMBO" 

(See two inside middle pages) 

1. Black Sambo returns from the bazaar with material for Little Black 
Sambo's little red coat and little blue trousers instead of the eggs, and 
butter and sugar and milk that Black Mumbo sent him for. 

2. Black Mumbo has refused to make the coat and trousers for Little Black 
Sambo unless he gets the eggs and butter and sugar and milk. So he 
goes into the jungle for these — and meets the monkeys. 

3. While in the jungle, he also meets some tigers and has a very hard time 
convincing them that he is not trying to be more beautiful than they 
are. 

4. The mean monkeys, Tangalingalinga and Sonkoponyana, who do not 
like Little Black Sambo because he has made friends with the "stupid 
monkey," Malinke, go to his home and steal his drum. 

5. and 6. The tigers take Little Black Sambo's pretty little red coat and his 

lovely blue trousers and his little green umbrella and his beautiful 
purple shoes with the crimson linings. 

8. The mean monkeys are determined to get even with Little Black Sambo 
for helping Malinke play a trick on them. They kidnap him. 

9. But his friends come to his rescue. There is the white monkey, the 
yellow monkey, and the gold monkey to the rescue. 

10. Here is Malinke, rapturous over her reward of a grass skirt for her 
part in Little Black Sambo's rescue. 



[34] 



A HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER 

One of the complexities of a high school student is that he 
wishes never to be mistaken for a child. Even a ninth grader 
considers himself fully grown, and it would be a sad error for 
a teacher by word or action to insinuate that he was anything 
else. In the assumption of this attitude a high school student 
will meticulously avoid any activity which might indicate to 
others that he was not so mature as he thought himself. This 
false conception of himself — for bare-faced and counterfeit it is 
— is mainly responsible for his surface lack of interest in any- 
thing resembling a children's play. He just feels above it all. 

When the performances of "Little Black Sambo" neared, my 
students in Greenville High School were not unlike their brethren 
all over this broad land. Of course, we had one trump up our 
sleeves. One of the most popular boys in high school and a 
member of our dramatics class was to be the leading character. 
Another attraction was the class credit which was offered for 
attendance. Then, too, some of the boys and girls had seen the 
Clare Tree Major production of "Alice in Wonderland" the year 
before and knew that children's plays could be entertaining. With 
all these factors at work quite a sizable group from the high 
school turned out for the performances. 

Their reaction? They liked it. They snickered with the 
monkeys and growled with the tigers. They saw good lighting 
and good staging. They learned that Hollywood wasn't the only 
place where entertainment could be manufactured and that actors 
at home were better, anyway, than those in the "horse operas." 
For a moment they forgot they were adults — and how much that 
alone was worth they will never realize and I shall never be able 
to compute. They forgot to say to themselves, "This is a chil- 
dren's play, so I couldn't possibly like it." The horizon of their 
vision receded, and they emerged from the auditorium a little 
broader, a lot happier than they had been when they entered. 

Their reaction? They thought it was great fun. 

— Rk ■ 1 1 a k i » Wai.skh, 

Director Dramatic Arts in 
Greenville iu^ii School. 

A COLLEGE STUDENT 

No amount of advance publicity seemed to counteract the im- 
pression on the campus for a long time that the play "Little Black 
Sambo" was not written exclusively for children. Such expres- 
sions as these were heard: "I remember something about a 
little colored boy and the jungles." "Where can I find time out 
for a kid's play?" 

The Chi Pi Players bestirred themselves to break up this 

[35] 



attitude and did not stop until they had the interest of the entire 
college, working to the last minute even on the eventful day. The 
characters, coming straight from their afternoon performance 
for the children, entered the dining hall for the evening meal in 
full costume and make-up. Their appearance, added to the en- 
thusiastic reports of those who had seen the play, produced the 
desired effect. Those who had never before thought of attending, 
fell in line for tickets that night. 

Those who saw both performances felt a subtle difference 
between the two. In the afternoon the cast made appeal to the 
children's love of fantasy and action, and that night they worked 
to get across finer shadings of lines. 

At the night performance, it was amusing to watch the 
startled expressions on the faces of the once skeptical students 
as the house lights dimmed, the curtains parted, and the slim 
brown figure of little Sambo swayed to the weird chant of the fire 
song. 

As the play moved on I found myself holding back, as perhaps 
becomes an adult, my own laughter when I noticed the ex- 
pressions on the faces of the female hero-worshippers when they 
beheld their football players in the role of growling tigers. They 
must have doubted the age-old Biblical quotation, "When I was 
a child, I spake as a child, but when I became a man, I put away 
childish things," for these fine specimens of manhood were 
thoroughly enjoying running around on all fours. The college 
students in the audience suddenly caught the same spirit, and 
from then on enjoyed the fun. 

The universality of the appeal was shown in many places but 
none more than in the scene with which little Sambo so ardently 
desired his crimson shoes and the green umbrellas. This feeling 
was heartily echoed in the hearts of the college students as well 
as of the children. Everyone has at sometime felt the thrill of 
wanting something that seemed just beyond the power of at- 
tainment, some little thing, perhaps as a young girl wishing for 
her first silk stockings or that coveted first job. 

They saw in a delightfully superb jungle with fantastic people 
strutting on the stage the whole pattern of life, characteristics 
of people they knew — in the good, the bad, the clown, the stupid 
one, those types seen in the monkeys and tigers. Those with the 
least imagination or artistic sensitivity enjoyed the animals and 
envied them as they capered around. 

The swaying rhythm that Sambo used in his bodily movement 
and his chanting of the fire song delighted all, especially the 
musicians, and brought forth favorable comment from even the 
most critical observers. 

[36] 



Others in the audience probably shared my philosophizing. 
In a world of stress and responsibility, people's minds seek some- 
thing to offset the pressure of life. This carried the students 
back to memories of the past, the pleasant thoughts of never- 
never land where exams and parallel reading are unheard of 
or where the older folk perhaps forgot to think of rheumatism 
and aches. Here they returned to the memories of their child- 
hood. Once again through imagination they were transplanted 
to a world of enchantment. 

With keen interest many of the observers who knew some- 
thing of the art of play production appreciated the ingenious 
stage craft, the fantastic make-up, the rhythm, harmony, balance, 
and grace which the actors combined to give unity and emphasis 
to the play as a whole. They marveled at the tricks done by 
lighting, as the way the tigers turned into butter before their 
very eyes and at the way the master electrician produced other 
startling effects. 

Some doubtless left the auditorium with the feeling, "What 
fools we adults are!" As long as the future has children who 
believe in the little man overcoming the big man, surely there 
is hope for the future. 

— Makth.v Rice. 

SPONSORS A. A. U. W. 

The Greenville chapter of the American Association of 
University Women were the sponsors of "Little Black Sambo," 
which was the third entertainment for children which they had 
sponsored in their program of community activities. The other 
two had been performances by companies of national reputation 
specializing in children's theatre productions, Sue Hasting's 
Marionettes and the Clare Tree Major Players. 

The plays produced by the Chi Pi Players had been of such 
high quality that the A. A. U. W. instead of having a profes- 
sional company voted to have them put on their next play for 
children. The organization was to assume financial responsi- 
bility. The Players accepted the offer and the results were 
highly satisfactory in every way. The performance of "Little 
Black Sambo" came up to high professional standards of art. 
they felt, and the community responded so that a Children's 
Little Theatre with the College as the center might he estab- 
lished may come true, but this is a vision tin- the remote future. 
The A. A. U. W. hopes at least to sponsor a play for children 
each year. 

Other civic, educational, and literary organizations of the 
town, under the leadership of the A. A. U. W.. were brought 
together in what was. in fact, a co-operative plan \'nv the benefit 

[37] 



of the community. These gave whole-hearted support to the 
venture. The schools were reached through the Parent-Teacher 
Associations. Members of clubs pledged to buy a certain number 
of tickets, most of which were donated to children who could 
not afford to buy tickets. The Greenville newspapers gave good 
space and the radio station gave time to help publicize the event. 
The result was that large audiences literally filled the audito- 
rium for both the matinee and evening performances. 

The sponsors feel that their third undertaking in having a 
co-operative production of a play for children was even more 
successful than their first two efforts and hope that the A. A. 
U. W. play for children will be an annual event. 



[38] 



PROGRAMS OF PLAYS 
MARKING PROGRESS 



[3D J 



Saturday and Monday Evenings 
February 17 and 19, 1940 

STAGE DOOR 

By George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber 

Direction Clifton Britton 

Art Direction John D. Bridgers 

Costumes Barbara Keuzenkamp 

Music Direction Spencer Hatley 

CAST 

Olga Brandt Katherine McClees 

Mattie Elizabeth Wilson 

Mary Harper Marie Smith 

Bernice Niemeyer Lucy Ann Barrow 

Madeline Vauclain Evelyn Pendergrass 

Judith Canfield Ethel Gaston 

Ann Braddock Joyce Hill 

Kaye Hamilton Nell Breedlove 

Linda Shaw Tompy Benton 

Jean Maitland Mary Ellen Matthews 

Bobby Melrose Helen Flanagan 

Louise Mitchell Prue Newby 

Susan Page Ursula Carr 

Pat Devine Alice Alligood 

Kendall Adams Shirley Latham 

Terry Randall Jane Copeland 

Tony Gillette Ossie Faircloth 

Mrs. Orcutt Helen Gray Gilliam 

Frank John David Bridgers 

Sam Hastings James Thompson 

Jimmy Devereaux Frank Morris 

Fred Powell Jim Ipock 

Lou Milhauser Norman Wilkerson 

David Kingsley Ward James 

Keith Burgess David Breece 

Mrs. Shaw Rose Marciole 

Dr. Randall Waylan Tucker 

Larry Lindsay Whichard 

Adolph Gretzel John Glover 



[40] 




THRKK MEMBERS OF TIIK TECHNICAL STAFF AT WORK ON THE 

'STACK >l{" SKT. 



[41] 



SCENES 

ACT I 

Scene I. The Footlights Club (Main Room). Somewhere in the 

west Fifties, New York. 
Scene II. One of the bedrooms. A month later. 

ACT II 

Scene I. Again the Main Room. (Same as Act I, Scene 1.) A 

year later. 
Scene II. Two months later. (Same.) 

ACT III 

Scene I. The following season. (Same.) A Sunday morning. 
Scene II. About two weeks later. (Same.) Midnight. 




THE LEADING LADY OF "STAGE DOOR" WAITS FOR THE DIRECTOR 
TO GIVE HIS FINAL CHECK ON HER COSTUME. 



[42] 



TECHNICAL STAFF 

Stage Manager Harvey Deal 

Assistant Stage Manager Ruth Frazelle 

Master Electrician Waylan Tucker 

Make-up Director Lena C. Ellis 

Foreman of Stage Construction Hampton Noe 

Wardrobe Mistress Annie Hart Boone 

Assistants Doris Dobson, Rowena Hicks 

Production Manager Lindsay Whichard 

Head Usher Christine Harris 

Sets Dressed by Morena Robinson, Ann Meadows 

Property Mistress Vileigh Austin 

Assistants Ruth Hawks, Evelyn Jernigan 

Lobby Margeret Allen, Helen Geddy, Lucille Edge, Frances 

Cutchins. 
Song, "My Stage Door Love" By Loomis McLawhorn 



LEADING CHARACTERS OF "STAGE DOOR" 



£«S*^ J§| j£~m. ^|p 


'**^€ MU-Ht»" - M 


W ■ %wii 


IT f 


WBu » 1: i rMm 





Jane Copeland 

-who plays Terry Randall. 



Ward Jamks 
who plays David Kingsley. 



[43] 



Friday and Saturday Evenings 
May 16 and 17, 1942 

WUTHERING HEIGHTS 

By Randolph Carter 
Based on the novel by Emily Bronte 

Direction Clifton Britton 

Art Direction Fenly Spear 

Costumes Ruth Bray 

CAST 

Ellen Dean Irene Mitcham 

Joseph _, Russell Rogerson 

Heathcliff George Lautares 

Hindley Ernshaw Billy Greene 

Catherine Ernshaw Ruth Bray 

Edgar Linton Ward James 

Isabel Linton Jane Copeland 

SCENES 

ACT I 

Wuthering Heights, on a summer night. 

ACT II 

Scene 1. The Grange; an evening in autumn, several years 

later. 
Scene 2. The same ; morning, several weeks later. 
Scene 3. The same ; midnight, a night in winter. 
Eight Minutes Intermission. 

ACT III 

Wuthering Heights ; morning, the following spring. 



[44] 




A TENSE MO.MKXT KKn.M "Wl Tl I KK I \( ; IIKICMTS 



[45] 



STAFF FOR THIS PRODUCTION 

Stage Manager David Breece 

Assistant Pauline Abeyounis 

Electrician Fenly Spear 

Sound Mistress Sybil Taylor 

Properties Elizabeth Meadows, Margaret Moore, Margaret 

Lewis. 

Make-up Director Lena C. Ellis 

Sets Executed by David Breece 

Assistants Walter Mallard, Alice Ferbee, Lona Maddrey 

Publicity Elizabeth Coppedge, Marjorie Dudley 

House Manager Bill Dudash 

Costume Mistresses Mary Ruffin, Garnet Cordell 

Head Usher Janie Eakes 

Stage Dressed by Alvin Wooten, Dan Wardell, Walter 

Mallard, John Dillinger, Howard 
Adams, George Heafner. 







if f\ ~ 




a. . 




■■^H ^mtf Ik MM 


'wt 






WM ^Umm m ■ mail 






■*• ■*■ 





















STAGE SETTING FOR THE FIRST AND LAST ACTS OF "WUTHERING 

HEIGHTS" 



[46] 






Thursday and Friday Evenings 
November 21 and 22, 1940 

THE SKULL 

By Harry E. Humphrey 
With J. Owen 

Direction Clifton Britton 

Art Direction William Harris 

Costumes Mary Gaskins 

CAST 

Mrs. Harris Sybil Taylor 

Dorothy Merrill Ruth Bray 

Anna Ophelia Hooks 

Professor Vorheese George Lautares 

Steve Tolman Waylan Tucker 

Robert Demarest Bill Dudash 

Jerry Brownell Jimmie Dempsey 

Captain Allenby DuBose Simpson 

Harry William Burks 

The Skull ? ? ? ? 

SCENES 

ACT I 
A deserted Church, 10 miles from Greenwich, Conn. 

ACT II 
Same as Act I. A few minutes later. 

ACT III 
Same as Act II. 



[47] 



TECHNICAL STAFF 

Stage Manager Jean Phillips 

Master Electrician Fenly Spear 

Assistant Bob Whichard 

Properties Mary H. Ruffin 

Effect Mistress Gene King 

Assistant Walter Mallard 

House Manager Ward James 

Head Usher Dorothy Davis 

Assistants Doris Hockaday, Garnet Cordell, Edith Warick, 

Virginia Rouse, Claire Lewis, Alice Ferbee, 

Hazel Williford, Janie Eakes. 



TECHNICIANS IN "THE SKULL" COMPANY 








Jean Phillips 

Stage Manager 



Gene King 

Effect Mistress 



[48] 







A CREEPY MOMENT IKOM "THE SKULL 



[49] 



Thursday and Friday Evenings 
February 26 and 27, 1942 

A DOLL'S HOUSE 

By Henrik Ibsen 
Translated by William Archer 

Direction Clifton Britton 

Art Direction Fenly Spear 

Costumes Helen Flynn 

Dance Direction Marie Smith 

CAST 

Ellen Hazel Harris 

The Porter William McHenry 

Towald Helmer Denton Rossell 

Nora Helmer Ruth Bray 

Mrs. Linden Agnes W. Barrett 

Nils Krogstad Richard G. Walser 

Dr. Rank Meredith N. Posey 

Emmy Lenna Rose 

Ivar Douglas McLeod 

Bob Billy Laughinghouse 

Anna Stella Grogan 

SCENES 

ACT I 

The Home of the Helmers. Norway. Christmas Eve. 

ACT II 

Same as Act I. Christmas Day. 

ACT III 
Same as Act II. The following day. 



[50] 



TECHNICAL STAFF 

Technical Director Fenly Spear 

Assistant Carol Winsette 

Stage Managers Ophelia Hooks, Dave Owens 

Properties Dorothy Wycoff 

Make-up Director Lois Grigsby 

Assistant Martha Rice 

Production Assistants _____ Don Marriott, Mary T. Bailey, Bernice 

Freeman, Lena Giles, Alice Ferebee. 

STAGE SETTING FOR "A DOLL'S HOUSE" 




A SCENE FROM "A DOLL'S HOUSE' 




[51] 



Saturday and Monday Evenings 

February 11 and 13, 1939 

Martin Flavin's 

CHILDREN OF THE MOON 

Direction Clifton Britton 

Art Direction John David Bridgers 

Costumer Nell Perry 

Music Direction A. L. Dittmer 

Stage Manager Annie Laura Beal 

CAST 

Walter Higgs Ferdinand Kerr 

Thomas Robert Musslewhite 

Madam Atherton Sarah E. Bristel 

Jane Atherton Nancy Page 

Laura Atherton Helen McGinnis 

Judge Atherton Sidney Mason 

Major Bannister Bruce Harrison 

Doctor Wetherell Fodie Hodges 

SCENES 

ACT I 

Living room of the Atherton Home. Early morning. 

ACT II 

Same as Act I. Twilight of same day. 

ACT III 

Same as Act II. Late evening. 



[52] 




THE DIRECTOR GIVES INSTRUCTION 




KKIIKAKSINi; A SCKNE 



[53] 




A SCENE FROM "DOUBLE DOOR" 




A SCENE FROM "ON THE BRIDGE AT MIDNIGHT' 



[54] 




SCKXKS I'Ko.M 'VICTORY OVER DEATH' 



[55] 




A SCENE FROM "RAMONA" 




THE "EXTRAS" OF THE "RAMONA" CAST WATCH THE LEADS PLAY 
AN IMPORTANT SCENE. 



[56] 




[57] 




A SCENE FROM THE CHI PI PLAYERS STATE FESTIVAL WINNING 
PLAY "RAINBOWS IN HEAVEN." 



[58] 



LIST OF PLAYS 

Smilin' Through 

Tweedles 

Dick Makes a Mistake 

The Patsy 

The Arrival of Kitty 

Sunshine 

Children of the Moon 

Sham 

Wedding Clothes 

The Man Who Came Back 

The Elopement 

Kempy 

The Milky Way 

Stage Door 

Sky-Fodder 

Women's Ward 

For the Love of Pete 

Joy San 

The Skull 

Ramona 

Wuthering Heights 

On the Bridge at Midnight 

Double Door 

Little Black Sambo 

A Doll's House 

Rainbows in Heaven 

Vivacious Lady 

Applesauce 

Victory Over Death 

[59] 




MEMBERS OF THE "DOUBLE DOOR" COMPANY TAKE A CURTAIN 

CALL 



[60]