Top Adam award for Dunedin playwright

Playmarket director Murray Lynch presents Emily Duncan with her latest playwriting award — the...
Playmarket director Murray Lynch presents Emily Duncan with her latest playwriting award — the 2021 Adam New Zealand Play Award, in Wellington, last weekend. PHOTO: PHILIP MERRY
A ‘‘shocking, lacerating and wicked’’ writing style has won Emily Duncan another major playwriting award.

The Dunedin playwright received the 2021 Adam New Zealand Play Award at the Playmarket awards in Wellington last weekend, for her play & Sons.

The award recognises and celebrates the best in new unproduced writing for the theatre.

As well as the Adam award, she won the award for best play by a female playwright and the McNaughton South Island play award.

& Sons is a black comedy set in the executive office of a shoe factory, and examines pathologic patriarchy and toxic masculinity; how it is upheld, wields damage, and might be razed.

Judges described it as ‘‘beautifully written’’, ‘‘thrilling in the best sense of the word’’, ‘‘shocking ... lacerating and wicked”.

Dr Duncan said she did not write the play with a prize in mind, so she was left speechless when it was announced she had won the overall award — the most prestigious she had received so far.

‘‘It was a genuinely huge, incredible surprise.

Runner-up in the Adam NZ award was actor, writer, director and producer Katie Wolfe.

She also received the best play by a Maori playwright award for The Haka Party Incident — a piece of verbatim theatre recreating the 1979 stoush between University of Auckland engineering students and members of activist group He Taua.

She also won the inaugural Dean Parker adaptation or non-fiction award, for a play adapted from a work of fiction, or a docudrama or verbatim work.

Vela Manusaute won the award for best play by a Pasifika playwright, for Sons of Vao, a moving and powerful play about a brutal father and his dysfunctional relationship with his three sons.

The Adam NZ Play Award, now in its 14th year, is the only one of its kind for new writing in New Zealand.

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