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Plays and playmaking, Mark Houlahan

Performing Dramaturgy
Fiona Graham
Playmarket, $40.00,
ISBN 9780908607648

Floating Islanders: Pasifika Theatre in Aotearoa
Lisa Warrington and David O’Donnell
ISBN 9781988531076

Dawn Raids
Oscar Kightley
Playmarket, $18.00,
ISBN 97809080607631

“What is a dramaturg?” I overheard that question earlier this year while sitting in a theatre waiting for a show to begin. As it happened, this was a show which listed me in the programme as “dramaturg”, and the couple asking the question were reading my notes. So I quickly said to them, “script advisor”, and left them to get on with their pre-show reading. A few months later, I was reading Fiona Graham’s Performing Dramaturgy, which offers a much richer, contextualised series of answers to the question. It would be egregious to thrust her book into the hands of someone directly waiting for a performance to start, of course, but otherwise it can be safely recommended to a broad range of researchers, students and theatre practitioners. Graham herself prefers the alternative spelling “dramaturge”, because of its use to indicate “an expanded and interdisciplinary practice”, so I’ll use that form here.

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The play’s the thing, Mark Houlahan

Best Playwriting Book Ever
Roger Hall
Playmarket, $22.00,
ISBN 9780908607600

Shift
Alison Quigan, Vivienne Plumb and Lynda Chanwai-Earle
Playmarket, $35.00,
ISBN 9780908607617

Bats Plays
Ken Duncum and Rebecca Rodden
Playmarket, $30.00,
ISBN 9781776560899

To review Best Playwriting Book Ever, I broke the first rule of playwright club. In his prologue, Roger Hall advises: “To get the best out of this book, write a play (or as much as you can of one) before you read it.” I have never written a play, though I have been watching and performing plays on various stages for almost as long as people have been flocking to Hall’s plays, since his break-out hit, Glide Time (1976). He has now written 50 plays, alongside film scripts and TV series, so he has certainly earned the right to stake his claim in the title of this book. Ticket sales from Hall’s plays have helped fund so many of our theatres, and Hall himself has managed the still rare local feat of making a living as a playwright. He has told that story entertainingly in his autobiography, Bums on Seats (1998).

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Posted in Literature, Plays, Review

Stories on stage, Mark Houlahan

The Plays of Bruce Mason: A Survey John Smythe Playmarket and Victoria University Press, $40.00, ISBN 9781776560554 Here/Now: 8 Plays by Award-Winning New Zealand Playwrights David O’Donnell (ed) Playmarket, $35.00, ISBN 9780908 607594 John Smythe’s survey of the plays of

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Posted in Literature, Plays, Review

Theatre for life Lisa Warrington

Rebellious Mirrors: Community-based Theatre in Aotearoa/New Zealand Paul Maunder Canterbury University Press, $45.00, ISBN 9781927145456 Twenty New Zealand Playwrights Michelanne Forster and Vivienne Plumb Playmarket, $40.00, ISBN 9780908607471 Though differing in approach, tone and content, there are strong connections between

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Posted in History, Non-fiction, Plays, Sociology

Lordania revisited, Laurie Atkinson

Three Plays  Robert Lord (Phillip Mann ed) Playmarket, $30.00, ISBN 9780908607464 The playwright Robert Lord died in Dunedin on January 7th, 1992. His last play, Joyful and Triumphant, was premiered seven weeks later at Circa Theatre on February 20th as

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Posted in Literature, Plays, Review

National theatrics, John Callen

Playmarket 40: 40 Years of Playwriting in New Zealand Laurie Atkinson (ed) Playmarket, $40.00, ISBN 9780908607457 Ask an actor or director to speak at a function or write something about theatre, and there’s a good chance they’ll presume it’s themselves

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The one and the many, Helen Watson White

Urbanesia: Four Pasifika Plays Courtney Sina Meredith, Vela Manusaute, Victor Rodger, Oscar Kightley, David Fane, Nathaniel Lees Playmarket, $40.00, ISBN 9780908607433 Haruru Mai Briar Grace-Smith Strange Resting Places Paolo Rotondo and Rob Mokaraka Playmarket, $32.00, ISBN 9780908607440 In 2012, nearing

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Posted in Literature, Plays, Review

The peculiar business, Laurie Atkinson

Katydid  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  

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Posted in Literature, Plays

Home and away, Hannah Smith

A Way of Life Roger Hall Playmarket, $26.50, ISBN 9780908607396   The Unforgiven Harvest/The Lead Wait Jo Randerson Playmarket, $26.50, ISBN 9780908607389   Urban Hymns Miria George Queen Bee Pip Hall Exchange Lauren Jackson Playmarket, $26.50, ISBN 9780908607402   We

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The play’s the thing, Laurie Atkinson

Two Plays  Dave Armstrong Playmarket, $23.07, ISBN 9780908607358 Two Plays David Geary Playmarket, $23.07, ISBN 9780908607372 Two Plays Sarah Delahunty Playmarket, $23.07, ISBN 9780908607365 An English blogger wrote recently about the prospect of attending theatrical performances at the Edinburgh Festival:

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