Auckland, New Zealand: New House Publishers Ltd, 1994. First printing. Paperback. Good/very good. School ownership stamp on front page - no other markings 160 pages. THE PLAY White Lies is based on a true story, but I dont think this is important. I had tried to write it as a short story narrated by the character Mike but it didnt work. I tried again, recasting it as a series of letters from Mike to various people explaining why he was failing his courses at university, but that didnt work either. Then I put it aside for a few years and came back to it and saw that it might work as a play, but only if more comedy was injected. New Zealand short stories tend to be very gloomy but comedy has been popular on stage and its one of my preferred areas. The trouble is comedy is very difficult to do on stage, partly because all actors and directors think its dead easy. And its not. My plays are not intended to make comments on society. Im creating dramatic situations between characters on stage and tensions in a plot. Its all artifice. If you treat plays as sociology you have to forget that they are plays and you miss a great deal about dramatic construction, building plot lines and conflicts, balancing short scenes against long, funny against sad, playing on repetitions and reversals through phrases or attitudes and so on. How do you inform the audience, how important are gestures (or lack of them), how do you convey ideas/emotions in various ways, keep the pace and rhythm of scenes working, anticipate audience responses to whats being enacted, create tension/suspense? Good writing should stimulate the imagination, not deaden it by simplifying everything into clichés and stereotypes or by thumpingly delivering messages. Theatre is good because its a live medium with instant audience response, and good plays should build on these advantages. THE AUTHOR Craig Harrison was born in Leeds, England in 1942. He came to New Zealand to lecture in the English department at Massey University. Here he wrote two novels, Broken October (1970), a political thriller set in the future exploring mass unemployment and Maori unrest; and Ground Level (1972), a comic novel about a journey to England. Both were refused publication and so were converted to plays, each of which went on to win playwriting awards. As a result he pursued playwriting in the 1970s, but becoming increasingly disillusioned with production he returned to writing novels. These were the science fiction novel The Quiet Earth, filmed by Geoff Murphy in 1985; Days of Starlight, published in 1988; and Grievous Bodily (1991), a comic novel about University life. White Lies, the play, was performed at Downstage, Wellington, in 1977 and at the Globe Theatre, Palmerston North, in 1984. The present version is heavily revised and rewritten.