Topic: Scenes at Mission dramatised

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One of the features of the Gate Pa commemoration will be the presentation of a play set in the Mission House just before and after the battle. This article appeared in the Bay of Plenty Times on Monday, 27 April 1964, and is reproduced here with their permission.

The play "The Oval Table," was written by Mr C. Kingsley-Smith, of Whakatane, in 1939 and the author hoped it could be produced for the centenary of New Zealand.

"The play was sent to Tauranga for consideration but it was misplaced," said Mr C. G. Marchant, the producer.

"Six months ago Mr Kingsley-Smith found the rough copy and thinking the play could be used during the Gate Pa centenary sent it to the Mayor of Tauranga, Mr Mitchell."

The script was handed to the centenary committee which asked Mr Marchant to produce the play.

The cast of 26, drawn from repertory or operatic groups between Katikati and Te Puke, was in rehersal for eight weeks before the dress rehersal last night.

The original furniture is on loan from the Mission House and Mr D. H. Maxwell and the NZ Army have given help with details of costume.

"It is not very often you get a chance to produce a play about your own town, so I jumped at that chance," said Mr Merchant. "The script is well written and has plenty of scope for dramatic effect."

"The Oval Table" is set in the Mission House, the home of the Rev. A. N. Brown.

The night before the battle Mr and Mrs Brown entertained many of the infantry officers in Tauranga to dinner, the next day all but one fell in the assault on the pa.

This is the theme Mr Kingsley-Smith has chosen for this three-act play.

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