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Reviewed by Jackie Rodgers, Senior English Teacher, Wakatipu High School, Queenstown
Opening sentence
The selected scenes in the book are suitable for actors aged thirteen to twenty-five years…
It’s been a while since I ‘taught’ drama but l enjoy studying plays, so was thrilled to be asked to write a review for this text. As stated in the ‘Using This Book’ section of the text, these short dramatic scenes “represent a broad spectrum of characters, cultural contexts and scenarios.” And it lives up to this. It is a compilation of just about everything: gender, culture, setting, theme.

The writers, like the content are varied too. There are familiar names: Damon Andrews, Fiona Farrell, Dave Armstrong, and Bruce Mason, and the not so familiar, making for a fascinating, almost eclectic selection to choose from.

The first few plays aren’t overly serious but very entertaining and I can see Year 9’s having a lot of fun. Further in, I found the plays more sophisticated in content but are certainly comic in their approach.

The last selection of excerpts was my favourite. Family and society are centre stage and we follow a century of New Zealand’s history from a dramatic excerpt of a conversation between five Māori Battalion soldiers to the conversation in Parliament on the COVID crisis starring Jacinda Ardern. It’s worth a look and a ‘play’…
Publisher: Playmarket
ISBN: 9780908607754
Format: Paperback
Publication: 2024
Ages: Years 9-13
Themes: Friendship, protest, first love, loss, fangirling, coming of age, war, whānau, pandemic