May 14, 2012


Laurie Atkinson reviews new play script publications for NZ Books:  

Lucy O’Brien
Playmarket, $22.50, ISBN 9780908607419

No 8 Wire: Eight Plays, Eight Decades
Playmarket, $30.00, ISBN 9780908607426

Plays 2: London Calling: Blue Sky Boys/John, I’m Only Dancing/Waterloo Sunset
Ken Duncum
Victoria University Press, $35.00,
ISBN 9780864736840

Harry Love
Steele Roberts, $19.99, ISBN 9781877577529

When these 13 plays arrived in the mail, I was reminded of what director Dominic Dromgoole wrote in 2000: “Never before in the history of humans wandering, waving, shouting and scrawling their way across the face of the earth, have so many of them been engaged in the peculiar business of writing plays.”

The number of people here engaged in the peculiar business must be increasing markedly since there is now available much valuable support: publication, workshops, dramaturgical advice, university courses, rehearsed readings, residencies, travel awards, and, most important of all, professional theatres (well, most of them) keen to produce local plays particularly if they are comedies.

One recipient of these advantages is Lucy O’Brien whose play Katydid was started when she was studying for her MA in scriptwriting at Victoria University. It was then given a two-day workshop, and later a script advisor was called in and another workshop was held before rehearsals started for its successful season at Bats in 2010. It is a strong, gutsy play that isn’t bleeding-heart for a moment in its portrait of a family coping with a 19-year-old daughter with cerebral palsy.
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The full review will be published in New Zealand Books: a Quarterly Review – the June issue (no. 98), due out late May 

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