FALLING and other short plays

A bookshop near you/buy online, (not a specified venue)

01/12/2014 - 01/07/2015

Production Details

These plays have worked successfully in New Zealand and overseas with small theatre companies, tertiary and secondary students. Short plays are a passion for Angie Farrow: “I enjoy the fun of trying to say a lot with very little, pressing something huge into a small container. A short play is like a highly charged battery: full of locked-in energy that can fuel an intensity of drama.” 

“Through a mechanism of theoretical alchemy, Angie Farrow’s short, sharp plays evoke the performances of myth and the myths of performance we use to choreograph our actions in life and love.” — Thom Conroy, senior lecturer in creative writing, Massey University

“Angie Farrow manages to get epic themes across in these intense and clever short plays. Perfect material for any tertiary or senior high school drama class.” — Robert Gilbert, director of theatre arts, Rangi Ruru Girls’ School 

“Brilliantly clever, witty and sharp — these works contain a multitude of real and surreal characters and worlds, and they take you on theatrical journeys way beyond the length of the plays.” — Stuart Hoar, playwright 

“Angie’s plays live in a place between wonder and fear, whimsy and despair, longing and exuberance. They are delicate and robust little celebrations of life that I love to get inside. These plays are a delicious gift for directors.” — Amanda McRaven, theatre director & teacher, Los Angeles 

Angie Farrow, associate professor in theatre and creative processes at Massey University, has written extensively for theatre and radio. Her work for stage includes Despatch, After Kafka, Amnesia, Memento and The Bowler Hat. She has written two community plays: Before the Birds and The River. Among her radio plays are All Packed Up, New Zealand Lamb, Carrion, Speed of Light and The Beauty Business

Angie has a special interest in experimental theatre, and her plays have won numerous national and international awards. 

FALLING and other short plays 
At a bookshop near you, or order online: http://steeleroberts.co.nz/books/isbn/9781927242674

Sharp, witty, and profound

Review by Robert Gilbert 19th Nov 2014

The worldwide advent of Short + Sweet theatre festivals has brought forth a new and exhilarating theatre-form. Like rugby sevens, T-20 cricket or Fast-5 Netball, it would seem there is a ready audience for the theatrical equivalent: the 10-minute play. And, as with the shortened sports experience, the short play brings intensity, precision, and a heightened appreciation for what is actually possible within the confines of limited time. When the experience is condensed in this way we are left with a powerful essence: strong and intensely satisfying. 

With more than 20 national and international playwriting awards, including the prestigious Sunday Times Playwriting Award, a Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Festival, and The Bruce Wrenn Award for Outstanding Contribution to New Zealand Writing, Angie Farrow has consistently demonstrated that she can connect with audiences through her clever and insightful writing. She is undoubtedly a leading exponent of writing the short play. 

FALLING and other short plays is a collection of 14 brilliantly penned ten-minute masterpieces. In each one, Angie manages to explore epic themes, complex characters, razor-sharp dialogue, and a unique sense of rhythm. Multi-layered characters cleverly voice each play. And each play explores the human condition with succinctness, and veracity. In these meticulously woven narratives, Angie manipulates time with complete understanding of her craft, and she does so through the use of metaphor and poetic language. 

I have been privileged enough to have seen several of these plays performed, but off the page they provide a compelling and penetrating insight into the heightened realities that the characters occupy. 

Falling is based on a true story of a sufferer of a rare neurological disorder that gives her the sensation that she is constantly falling. The sense of falling is real and imagined, literal and metaphorical, as she discovers that “landing really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”

There are other great ponderables throughout the collection, and many deal with a sense of futility – especially in relationships. Lifetime squeezes a lifetime into mere minutes. It’s outrageously funny, yet riddled with pathos and tragedy. It is a deeply moving piece that one would normally associate with a long night at the theatre. 

The Blue Balloon takes relationship breakups further, takes metaphor further, indeed it takes the form of the short play to a new and bold place. It is at once devastating, thought provoking, and poetic. The dialogue is economic yet deeply rich: “An eruption followed of such magnitude that the whole of the balloon’s fabric shredded into small pieces, raining the city with drops of blue.”

Relationships, society, capitalism, time, space, and matter make up just some of the material examined in the epic short play, Nearly There. Angie Farrow successfully synthesises keen observation with charming and disarming characters as they strive to move through an alternate reality: “Space. The more you say it … space … well the more it sounds less like what it is.” 

As a theatre maker and educator, I find these exquisite short plays inspirational and eminently useful. Their brevity makes them perfect material for the high school classroom or university theatre lab as pieces to examine and perform, or as exemplars of great playwriting. FALLING and other short plays is a study in narrative arc, character development, epic themes, and the use of symbol and metaphor. 

Angie Farrow has delivered a fine anthology of tried and tested short plays, many of them winning multiple awards, and all of them sharp, witty, and profound. FALLING and other short plays is a must for all drama classrooms, and a must for lovers of words and theatre.

[Robert Gilbert is the Director of Theatre Arts, Rangi Ruru Girls’ School.]


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