[Oxford University Light Entertainment Society]

Myths, Legends, Other Things

I really have no idea what to put on this page and nobody ever has. If you have any ideas, let me know. For the minute, I'll put some stuff that is referenced to in other places, or I find useful/interesting, or couldn't think of a better place to put.

Flosscars

"Flosscars" is our annual award ceremony. It is so called because, in 2000, the awards are not just any old small magnetic Oscars, no, they are small magnetic Oscars with dental floss tied round their necks. This makes them entirely different and original. In 2001 the small magnetic Oscars were replaced by bendy men with floss tied round their necks and in 2002 by flosscards, ie luggage labels strung up with floss. So the important point is clearly the floss and any casual resemblance to other award ceremonies is purely accidental.

Flosscars takes place in Trinity term, and as nominations and votes are due before the performances of the current play, the awards period covers Trinity of the previous academic year, plus Michaelmas and Hilary of this academic year. However, in the early days it was an issue of much debate which shows should be considered for the Flosscars, which explains why Good Show, Jeeves! has been included twice, and there were four plays for the 2002 Flosscars.

To see the records of Flosscars in years gone past, see the Flosscars Page.

Biscuit Tax

At least one of the slogans we have used over the years is "Biscuits and Wine Since 1999"! OULES of years gone past, Elizabeth, gives a good explanation as to why:
"Picture the scene. It is Easter 2001, and Sue and I are pacing along a beach. Pacing pensively, and indeed sadly. A deep anxiety has opened up beneath us, where the casual observer might see only sand. Sue and I have promised to direct the OULES play in the following term, and it is to be the beautiful . This play shines, glimmers and indeed shimmers with so much wit and charm that it's difficult to cut thoroughly. We are unlikely to make it less than 2 hours long. This does not matter from the point of view of audiences, as the play is for the summer, charity performance and so is not limited by what is reasonable to take to an old people's home. Nor does it matter from the point of view of our actors, as we have a uniquely superb range of young OULES desperate for parts. But how will we find time to rehearse it all? We only have 2 rehearsals a week, and though they're meant to be 2 hours long, the punctuality of the average OULE means that you get at most an hour's rehearsing done.

A light shines. We have contemplated the psychology of the individual and obtained a plausible solution. OULES are essentially like puppies, and so the best way to train them is with biscuits. And thus we form our plan. It probably will not mean anyone's any earlier to rehearsals, but it will mean there're more biscuits around, and so Sue and I will worry less."
And so "Biscuit Debt" was born. It works a little something like this:
  • If you are more than 15 minutes late for rehearsal, you must bring a packet of biscuits next time.
  • If you are more than 30 minutes late, you owe us 2 packets of biscuits.
  • If you are more than 45 minutes late, you owe us 3 packets of biscuits.
  • If you are more than an hour late, or fail to show up at all (without reasonable excuse), then you fall into wine-debt, and must bring a bottle of booze to the next rehearsal.
So there it is in a nutshell. I can say no more, although Elizabeth does have one more thing to say:
"This clearly teaches those young puppy-like OULEs that skiving rehearsals does not pay. For if booze is brought, I will drink it, and I will then be drunk, and it's not in anyone's interest to let that happen."
Nowadays (well, 2015), the enforcement of Biscuit Tax comes down to a director-by-director basis and the provision of wine is more limited to parties (or when certain past Secretaries drink before rehearsals...), but it is a fact universally acknowledged that nobody objects to biscuits at rehearsals.

Spurious Words

You might think that a normal OULES performance is a precarious near-corpse experience, and everything should be done to maintain what gravity there is. You'd be wrong. Well, actually, you might well be right, but when we get a performance with an audience who aren't quite worthy of our deepest respect and most artistic efforts (ie St. Peter's JCR or a small handful of guiders in the middle of their dinner who weren't expecting to see a play (I'll add the links back in later!)), we play a little game. You have a little list of words offstage. You try to fit them smoothly into your lines, or the closest approximation to your lines that you can remember onstage. Then they get ticked off the list and more are added. Everyone offstage laughs. Nobody onstage laughs, oh no. The audience look confused.

There are a few notable shows where this has been played - I will link to them as soon as I can, and the spurious words game is a key component in the Varsity Match!

Other Games

At various points over the last 15 years, OULES have played other silly games (not during shows, I should point out (Um, well, we may have during Robin Hood... - Tom (2015)) of which providing a comprehensive list of would be nigh impossible. We play Improv Games, we play games we stole from the Radio, the Television, and games we made up entirely by ourselves (probably). Nevertheless, let's have a go at providing this list:

VOLES

VOLES is the catch-all term for assorted light entertainers.

VOLES originally stood for "Varsity Oxbridge Light Entertainment Society" (As always, blame Needham for the spurious acronym), but that was changed to "Vacation Of Light Entertainment Societies" when people from societies other than OULES and CULES started to come along. It now stands for "Various Origin Light Entertainment Societies", and covers any time that lots of Light Entertainers from all over the place get together. (and it is now standard to refer to a Light Entertainer of any persuasion (be it OULES, CULES, USLES, ALES etc) as a "VOLE")

VOLES normally get together twice per year. In the summer, we go away for about a week (before the school holidays start). As well as putting on a show of some sort for unsuspecting local people (after all, entertaining people who wouldn't otherwise be able to go to a theatre is kind of the whole point), we have camping (tents optional), fires, and similar wonderful things in somewhere out-of-doors-y.

Our second annual outing is at New Year, when we go away for a few days to celebrate the end of one year and the start of another. As it is usually a bit cold for outside things in December, we try to rent a Scout hut or something like that and spend our time playing silly games and watching DVDs or suggesting walks but in the end deciding we can't be bothered. But I expect most of you knew all that anyway.

VOLES should not be confused with Two Shades of Blue. Two Shades of Blue is a group who produce shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, composed mostly of Light Entertainers. See their Website.

The Website

Yes, even this website is the product of years and years of OULES legend. This information used to be in the footer of our page, but I feel it deserves a mention to itself on this page. As pilly (past Webmistress) put it:
©... Ah yes, ©, slightly complicated that. Well. Originally Elizabeth did lots of work and wrote most of the content of the site. Then Helen did some more, and Rory did some more after that, so the content could have been written by any of the three of them, or maybe by me. Where me is pilly, obviously. Anyway, one thing I am sure of is that the page images (on the left) and the big header image and the general look of the thing were all done by Beth Rowell, in 2008. The coding that makes it all work in the background was done by pilly between 2009 and 2012.
As the list of past committees will show you, pilly maintained this site for many a year before it passed into the hands of Tom who was responsible for the current look and changes content. However, the other sites are certainly worth a look (and indeed, the back end of the site is still hosted by pilly). Therefore, I'm going to leave them here because they have oh so much content that would otherwise be lost:

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