Entertainment Hive 2020

Lally Katz's very fortunate story

By Honey B

Lally Katz was commissioned to write a play about the global financial crisis. The thing is – and this is a true story – Katz spent her commission   (and then some) going to see a fortune teller. In New York. More than once. Her show, Stories I Want To Tell You In Person, is the tale of what Katz was doing instead of writing a play. How did the commission for this show come about? “It came about because I had gotten obsessed with these fortune tellers in New York and went around talking as two of them in particular. “I wrote a play called Fortune about these fortune tellers and some finance guys during the Global Financial Crisis. It was a commission for Belvoir in Sydney. “They decided that they didn’t like the play, but they liked me talking about these fortune tellers, so it was decided that I would do that instead of the play.’’ Why did you spend the commission on a fortune teller and was it, maybe, because the GFC is so depressing? “No, when I was seeing the fortune tellers, I had no idea that they would end up in GFC play. I was seeing them in order to improve my love life.  I went in with an aching heart and they made me big promises!  I thought it was worth a shot. And then I started getting more and more interested in them as characters too.’’ Do you go shopping when you get depressed? It’s good for the GFC! “I go shopping when I’m depressed. I go shopping when I’m happy. I go shopping all the time. “I usually just buy the same sort of things over and over again, forgetting that I already have them. It makes me really happy in the short term- it’s like a high- or fulfilling a craving, but then when I hand my card over and hear the price I feel a bit sick. “I’m trying to be more responsible with my finances now. But I do really love the things that I buy. I love make-up and clothes. They’re like little treasures around my house even though most of the time I just wear sneakers because I walk everywhere. “I also buy things for my writing - knick knacks and weird jewellery that I think will be good inspiration for writing. I used to buy all these weird bears from a chemist near my old house. These bears became one of my very favourite characters - the Apocalypse Bear. “But yes, my spending is very good whichever country’s economy that I happen to be in!’’ Without giving too much away, tell us about the show and how shoes, love and the apocalypse fits in! “Well the story is in some ways about my quest for love, and how that can be difficult when I’ve made a deal with my subconscious to always put my writing over love. “Early on in the story I meet a man that I really like. But I’m worried that because of my deal with my subconscious that there’s no chance that we’ll be able to be happy. “But then I meet these psychics, they make me believe that I could actually have writing and love. But a lot of stuff goes wrong along the way! “My character the Apocalypse Bear makes some surprise appearances, he’s attracted to personal apocalypse. And I buy a lot of shoes along the way - that and my spending on the psychics brings about my own financial crisis. But maybe I’ve given away too much?’’ What was the fortune teller like and was she getting things right or wrong? “She has a very thick New York accent. She’s a very good sales woman. She spoke to my insecurities and longings. She was right about the things I longed for. And her predictions have been right and wrong so far.’’ What sort of things did she say? “She said I was going to meet my soul mate and marry him and have three children, that all the success I wanted was coming my way and that I would have a medical problem within the next 10 years, but that I would overcome it.’’ Do you usually see fortune tellers? “Yes - I see a lot of fortune tellers. But now I’m more into just seeing healers and my shrink.’’ What is it like working with Brink and Chris Drummond? “Amazing. Brink is a fantastic company and Chris Drummond is one of my favourite people. We’re actually working another very big show together called Atlantis, which Chris is directing. I love working with him. He’s passionate about new plays and about creating brilliant development systems for writers. He’s great.’’ Do you enjoy performing a one-woman show – your performance sounds quite personal and funny? “I love doing it! It’s so much fun being with the audience and being with my characters. It is a really personal show. I should be much more embarrassed about it than I am!’’ Did you learn anything at all about the GFC? “I did!  My brother works in finance and he taught me a lot about it! We had all these GFC adventures together. Some really crazy stories came out of it.’’ Is there a moral that we take away with this show... “There might be, but I never set out to argue a moral or anything like that. I always think it’s up to the audience to take away what they want. I just want them to come into the world and the story and have fun.’’ Stories I Want To Tell You In Person, Bakehouse Theatre, 255 Angas St, Adelaide, October 29 to November 8. Bookings: BASS 131 246
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