Senior Week “Extravaganza” Features Ursula in Original Farce

On February 13, 1923, the Oakland Tribune announced that 200 members of UC Berkeley’s 1923 graduating class were named to committees preparing for “Senior Week” festivities, to be held in May. The article not only mentioned Ursula as one of 12 “co-eds” assisting with the plans, but it also featured a prominent portrait of her in the dramatic headdress she wore for her “Nero” costume the previous year.

A large photo of Ursula accompanied an article on Senior Week in the "Oakland Tribune," February 13, 1923.

A large photo of Ursula accompanied an article on Senior Week in the “Oakland Tribune,” February 13, 1923.

During Senior Week, a tradition begun in 1874, the graduating class held a series of farewell activities, including an event called the “Extravaganza.” This was an original farce written and performed by members of the senior class. According to the UC Berkeley website, certain Senior Week functions are still observed and others, like the Extravaganza are not.

In the 1923 Extravaganza, entitled “But it Wasn’t,” Ursula played “Ellen,” one of the play’s main characters. According to the Blue and Gold yearbook, the plot centered on the question, “Does a man win a girl through strength, poetry, or by being a practical business man?” The answer was given in three stages. As the Oakland Tribune reported on May 7 that year:

“Business men, poets, and athletes from the stone age, the age of romance and the present-day strive for the hand of the same fair maiden, Mary.”

Ursula played “Ellen,” one of three fair co-eds in “But it Wasn’t,” the 1923 senior Extravaganza. I’m sure that Ursula, as one of the principal characters, is pictured in front as part of the three couples. It’s difficult to tell if she is the first or second woman from the left (definitely not the third.) What do you think? (Click on photo to see enlarged image.)

Ursula played “Ellen,” one of three fair co-eds in “But it Wasn’t,” the 1923 senior Extravaganza. I’m sure that Ursula, as one of the principal characters, is pictured in front as part of the three couples. It’s difficult to tell if she is the first or second woman from the left (definitely not the third.) What do you think? (Click on photo to see enlarged image.)

You can read more about the plot by clicking on the the newspaper and yearbook images posted below. I love this: the name of one of the characters from the stone age, Mary’s father, was J. Stonehatchet von Clubem.

Ursula plays "Ellen" in the UC Berkeley Senior Extravaganza (from the "Oakland Tribune," May 7, 1923).

Ursula plays “Ellen” in the UC Berkeley Senior Extravaganza (from the “Oakland Tribune,” May 7, 1923).

The farce was held in the Greek Theater and featured “novel costuming,” which Ursula also helped with. The author of the yearbook article offered this appraisal of the show:

“Seeing the Senior Extravaganza “But it Wasn’t” is a fine way to conclude my record for the Year’s dramatics. I rather expected much amusement and I must say my expectations were more than fulfilled…The whole performance seemed to depend upon co-operation and unity for even the leading parts were many and equally important.”

"Blue and Gold" yearbook write-up of the 1923 Senior Extravaganza

“Blue and Gold” yearbook write-up of the 1923 Senior Extravaganza

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