RE­VIEW BY DAVE MUR­DOCH Roger Hall clas­sic at the Foun­tain

Bush Telegraph - - Entertainment & Dining -

Any­one who has been to univer­sity will iden­tify with the ex­pe­ri­ences four women who at­tended as adult stu­dents de­scribed in By De­grees from Roger Hall.

Any­one who has not been to univer­sity will iden­tify with the ex­pe­ri­ences these women have in­ter­act­ing with those around them — their fam­i­lies in par­tic­u­lar — as their worlds change.

In other words there is some­thing for ev­ery­one in By De­grees which opened in the Foun­tain The­atre on Thurs­day June 7.

In the play the four ac­tors talk di­rectly to the au­di­ence, de­scrib­ing their dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ences as they de­cide to en­rol, at­tend lec­tures and tu­to­ri­als, study and sit ex­am­i­na­tions and re­act to their re­sults.

All the time they de­scribe the ef­fects on them­selves — Shirley’s dis­ap­point­ment at the lack of good­look­ing lec­tur­ers is clear when she says one “has not enough en­ergy to light a 60 watt bulb” but Glenys mar­vels at clas­si­cal stud­ies say­ing “I never re­alised they knew so much about the olden days”.

These kinds of com­ments re­flect each woman’s up­bring­ing, age and home cir­cum­stance and pro­vide a reg­u­lar flow of ob­ser­va­tions which has the au­di­ence chuck­ling through­out.

The first half of the show cov­ers two years at univer­sity — how the women progress, what they dis­cover along the way about them­selves and how the fam­i­lies re­act to mum/sis­ter at uni.

In the sec­ond half the third and fi­nal year is full of tri­umphs, dis­ap­point­ments, humour and sad­nesses, with chal­lenges as the stu­dents branch into other sub­jects like psy­chol­ogy, le­gal his­tory and French, and some fi­nal ques­tions.

Di­rec­tor Josie Robert­son has the cast script per­fect, light­ing and con­ti­nu­ity also per­fectly in synch and flow­ing seam­lessly de­spite the fo­cus switch­ing from one women to an­other so fre­quently.

For the cast the de­mand­ing chal­lenge of learn­ing and de­liv­er­ing so many lines with­out cast in­ter­ac­tion has been man­aged su­perbly. Ev­ery char­ac­ter is be­liev­able and their fam­i­lies are just as fa­mil­iar by the end of the play, de­spite never be­ing on stage.

The play, set in the 1980s, is de­liv­ered on a spar­tan set with cos­tum­ing nicely var­ied to re­flect the sea­sons, the ages and the events.

The show is on for an­other week start­ing Wed­nes­day June 13 with the fi­nal night Fri­day June 15.

Tick­ets cost adults $25, se­niors $22 and can be pur­chased from the Dan­nevirke In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre. There are door sales but the last show sold out.

TU­TO­RI­ALS are not much bet­ter.

GLENYS looks con­fused at her first lec­ture.

SOLO mum Clare de­scribes her mo­ti­va­tion for go­ing to univer­sity.

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