Saturday, October 24, 2015

Sepia Saturday: So Dramatic

Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.

This week’s Sepia Saturday photo featuring the dramatic pose of a woman playing the harp has afforded me the opportunity to share some pages from my grandaunt’s college yearbook. While the Stratford Players put on some very dramatic performances at the Harrisonburg Normal School, the May Day Festival required the most lavish production. Students of elocution, chorus, and dance joined forces with the drama club to make May Day inspiring and unforgettable.

Program May Day 1923 Harrisonburg Normal School
In 1923, the theme was an Old English May Day,

Program May Day 1923 Harrisonburg Normal School

complete with Morris dancers,

Morris Dancers May Day 1923 Harrisonburg Normal School

milk maids,

a fiddler,
Fiddler?  I think that's a lyre.

Robin Hood, a jester, and a horse.

Now, honestly, I hate to sound judgmental, but any group of students who could craft the scenery and costumes for Pomander Walk

Outdoor auditorium with homemade scenery

should have been capable of rendering a better horse than that.

Maybe the May Day play was a comedy. I don’t know. Let’s look at that horse again.

That horse cracks me up!

I don’t mean to harp on it, but I do think you should visit the others at Sepia Saturday. AND if you’d like to join us, I can pull a few strings.

© 2015, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.


  1. Full marks for a perfect match! That stage prop lyre is exactly what our theme harpist has. An instrument of limited pitches, if any, it was the choice for the romantic ballad song. The Morris Dancers must have required a lot of practice for American college students of the 1920s to learn all the steps and proper stick technique. The horse costume surely brought laughs, and Robin's bow looks a bit funny too.

  2. I am always fascinated with people who can play any musical instrument!

  3. Kind of neat to see creativity from long ago.


  4. Absolutely loved your remark about the horse and the second look at it. I burst out laughing. It was a bit sad. Perhaps, as you suggest, it was meant to draw some chuckles. All in all, they seemed to have done a rather fair job of the whole shebang.

  5. So that's what the prompt instrument is? It's so huge for a lyre. The horse is a scream!! It looks like it's made of plastic trash bags.

  6. Inspiring and unforgettable then and now. As I've said before, you are so fortunate to have these yearbooks to share at the most opportune times for Sepia Saturday. Good job on putting this dramatic affair together.

  7. Thanks goodness for amateur theatricals They still flourish in this neck of the woods. Your examples look like fun

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    1. Well you couldn't really expect them to create a horse as realistic as the ones in the musical Warhorse, and those horses comprised of two people never look that great either. It could have been worse!

  9. This was such a fun post, great photos, and each one expressing their enjoyment, like that great horse costume for the Jester. Fun stuff, and I always like stories about May Day which was such a fun time in our pasts.

  10. Is that horse made out of an ironing board?


    They are almost as good as our productions in the backyard in Cradock!

  11. Oh Wendy, you are always good for a giggle. You are so clever with words.

    That horse is a little scary and I agree, given what else they seemed to pull off, I would have expected a better horse.

  12. What a fun post! I am envious of America having student year books, as they provide such a wealth of material. In Britain, I recollect an annual school magazine at my High School but cannot remember much about it, but don't think it featured photographs. Today my local newspaper each week has a School Noticebosrd section with reports on activities and photos - a great resource for future family historians.

  13. I just love how you tie in your own photos to the Sepia Saturday theme. And you're right, that horse is a scream!

  14. Yes, that horse upstages everyone else!

  15. Maybe all those dresses were in the costume closet and they only had to make the horse. I like the comedy theory though.