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by Christa Winsloe

Translated and adapted by Barbara Burnham

The questors Theatre ("Tin Hut")
November 1946

Directed by Eric Voce


Rosemarie Ballard, Isobel Benns, Joan Carlin, Florence Chedzey, Doreen Coates, Elizabeth Dixon, Madge Dolman, Ruby Feast, Irene Foster, Fiona Fraser, Joyce Gapp, Rosemary Grant, Barbara James, Vera Lovelock, Katherine McKinney, Carmen Nisbet, Betty Ogden, Joan Pyle, Rena Rice, Pamela Richards, Carolyn Sherwood, June Sibley, Bridget Spalding, Gwen Thomas, Joyce Wheeler

Production Team:
Maurice Ballinger, George Benn, Isobel Benns, Peter Bryant, Archie Cowan, Peter Curtis, B Darlison, Peter Ellis, C G Golding, John Gray, W H Robinson, J Mayo, J Michell, Carmen Nisbet, Beadon Pitt, Denis Robinson, Eric Voce


“Night after night, month after month, through all the sops and timidities and pretentiousness that are turning men and women of quality away from the theatre, one waits for such an evening as this – holding back from the carpentry that is without design, the flaccid trumped-up passion that is without feeling, the glitter that is without warmth or fire, holding back so long from the daily chorus of praises that one begins to ask if one’s faculty of delight is perished. But the reward, when it comes, is worth the vigil and it came last night...

“The personal tragedy of Manuela is not personal only; it is the core of the tragedy of an idea. Her love for Fraulein von Bernburg, the young mistress’s love for her, the ruin that befalls them both in an organisation where all individual distinctions are forbidden – these happenings are as beautiful as they are terrible, but their significance is not in themselves alone. They speak the tragedy of a school, of a tradition, of an ideal; and that this ideal, which causes suffering so profound, is neither mean nor petty, but endowed with the splendours of loyalty and self-cliscipline, gives to the play a poignancy that reaches far beyond the range of dramatic anecdote...

“Only to those who know the outline of the play, without having discovered its spirit, can the story seem morbid or hysterical. It has that quality of glowing fierceness, of tears wrung from the stone of experience that is the mark of tragedy. It has too much wisdom to be bitter and too much beauty to be cruel.”

(Reproduced from The Times, 8 October 1932)