Minnie & Liraz is a riotous new play starring legendary actors Nancye Hayes (Jerry’s Girls) and Sue Jones (Other Desert Cities) as fiercely competitive bridge-playing grandmothers.
A brainchild of the magnificent Lally Katz and directed by award-winning director Anne-Louise Sarks, Minnie & Liraz will have its world premiere on Thursday 18 May at Arts Centre Melbourne, Fairfax Studio.
Virginia Gay (Winners & Losers), Rhys McConnochie (Endgame), Georgina Naidu (Newton’s Law) and Peter Paltos (Calpurnia Descending) complete the cast of this charming oddball story of Jewish grandparents and raw ambition.
The Autumn Road Retirement Village in Caulfield has an ultra-competitive bridge club, although with time and tide doing its inevitable work, no bridge partnership lasts for long. When Minnie Cohen loses her partner in an unfortunate swimming accident, the best player in the village, Liraz Weinberg, wants them to team up. They’d be unbeatable all right, but Minnie abhors Liraz and wants something in return. She has a granddaughter and Liraz has a grandson, and both are hopelessly single. Laying all her cards on the table, Minnie is bidding hearts.
Director Anne-Louise Sarks said, ‘I was immediately drawn to the incredible, charming and complex women at the centre of Minnie & Liraz. I can’t wait to bring it to life. Lally’s writing is truly original and her latest play is deeply funny, honest and heart-warming – plus there’s the excitement of the bridge championship and a twist that even I did not see coming! In Minnie & Liraz, like all great comedies, there’s real truth at the core and the stakes are high.’
Award-winning writer Lally Katz has earned a reputation as one of the most unique voices in contemporary Australian playwriting. Recently, she wrote the libretto for Opera Australia and Barking Gecko’s The Rabbits which won numerous awards including Best New Australian Work at the 2015 Helpmann Awards. Her plays include Back at the Dojo, Timeshare, A Golem Story, The Dog/The Cat, Neighbourhood Watch, Return to Earth and Starchaser. In 2013 Lally’s one-woman show Stories I Want To Tell You In Person, directed by Anne-Louise Sarks, played at Belvoir and Malthouse and was remounted off Broadway in New York. In 2014 it transferred to Hothouse Theatre and Brink Productions in Adelaide and in 2015 ABC TV commissioned and produced a television adaptation of the show. The theatre production has also toured to Mexico and through India. She was a Churchill Fellow in 2010 and was appointed a Writer In Residence at Melbourne University in 2011. In 2012 Lally won InStyle Magazine’s Women Of Style Award in the arts category and in 2013 she was the inaugural recipient of an Australian Writers’ Foundation Playwriting Grant.
Anne-Louise Sarks is an award-winning theatre maker whose work has been performed in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Mexico City, New York, Warsaw, Mannheim, Delhi, London, Amsterdam and Paris. From 2013-2015 Anne-Louise was resident director at Belvoir where she directed Jasper Jones, Seventeen, Nora, Stories I Want to Tell You In Person; co-wrote Elektra/Orestes; directed and co-wrote Medea; was assistant director on The Wild Duck; and dramaturg on Thyestes. Medea won five 2013 Sydney Theatre Awards including Best Direction, Best Mainstage Production and Best New Australian Work. It was also awarded an AWGIE for Best Stage Play and nominated for four 2013 Helpmann Awards including Best Direction, Best New Australian Work and Best Play. Her other theatre directing credits include The Seed (MTC); The Nest, Yuri Wells and By Their Own Hands (The Hayloft Project). She is a former Associate Artist for Belvoir, Director in Residence at Malthouse and Artistic Director of The Hayloft Project.
This project is supported by the Australian Writers’ Foundation, with the generous support of Kim Williams AM.
Cast Virginia Gay, Nancye Hayes, Sue Jones, Rhys McConnochie, Georgina Naidu, Peter Paltos
Director & Dramaturg Anne-Louise Sarks
Set & Costume Designer Mel Page
Lighting Designer Matt Scott
Composer & Sound Designer Stefan Gregory
‘Lally Katz is one of our most prolific and lauded playwrights.’ ABC
‘Among Australian playwrights of her generation, Lally Katz probably has the most original dramatic imagination.’ The Age
12 May – 24 June
Thursday 18 May, 8pm
Arts Centre Melbourne, Fairfax Studio
On sale now
03 8688 0800