Portsmouth may not have had professional theater troupes in the 1920s, but it had its share of community based theater to entertain local audiences. Newspaper accounts show that church, school and social groups often presented plays. One group associated with Oakland Hall and the Oakland Lodge seems to have performed in a very professional way for an amateur group.

Newport Mercury and Newport Journal-Weekly News articles in 1928 tell us about performances of a comedy – “A Couple of Million.” I was able to find a copy of the play online and this four act play is funny. An audience today might find it dated and they would cringe at the racial dialects used and references to women as “skirts.” A modern group might perform this with some dialogue modifications. The plot opens at a lawyer’s office where a young man gets the news that he has inherited a “couple of million” from his uncle, but he has some difficult requirements to meet or the inheritance goes to someone else. The Journal Weekly article states: “From the rising of the curtain to the final drop there were few who were not convulsed with laughter or secured a thrill from the compromising situations in which the players became involved.”

The Oakland Players had all roles necessary for a quality performance. There was a fourteen member cast, a stage manager with three assistants, a prompter, a director of costume and makeup, an electrician and a carpenter. There were several parts for women and these were all performed by MEN.

The players did several performances on Aquidneck Island, but were also invited to perform in East Greenwich.