Monstrous Theatre to present the world premiere of Ron Elisha’s Rootless Cosmopolitans at Chapel Off Chapel

Monstrous Theatre presents Rootless CosmopolitansMonstrous Theatre presents the world premiere of celebrated Australian playwright Ron Elisha’s dangerous comedy Rootless Cosmopolitans at Chapel Off Chapel from 15 May 2024.

This timely and thought-provoking black comedy explores the polarising power of social media, antisemitism, and the minefield of identity politics.

The play centres around esteemed artistic director Ira Brot, who in six short years has transformed a small, struggling theatre company into an international sensation. Ira has the world at his feet – money, influence, and creative freedom – but one little tweet threatens to derail his perfect life.

Add to this his Jewish convert wife, a vaguely antisemitic theatre company Chairperson and an ambitious assistant director waiting in the wings, and you have the ingredients for the oldest of all culture wars, played out on a modern stage. Ira must also deal with a complex relationship with his mother who, although long dead, is alive and kvetching inside his head.

“In recent times, the putatively progressive Jewish world has been turned upside down, leaving one clinging desperately to what used to be the ground underneath one’s feet. In such circumstances, one might be forgiven for uttering a ‘cri de coeur’. Mine is titled Rootless Cosmopolitans,” said Ron Elisha.

“Theatre has the potential to act as a mirror to society and while we may not always like what we see, this function of theatre is more important now than ever,” said director Suzanne Heywood.

“Robust debate seems to be stifled by the misconception that the expression of a different point of view creates an “unsafe space”. Comedy can be our secret weapon to shift this mindset. The laughter of recognition is a kick start to the process of courageous scrutiny,” said Heywood.

Anton Berezin, who will play the role of Ira Brot, is also a producer of the play: “I’m a first-generation Jewish refugee from the former Soviet Union and grandson of Holocaust survivors. My father and grandfather were both jailed as subversive ‘intellectuals’, so you could say I’m from a family of rootless cosmopolitans,” said Berezin.

“Growing up, my family always used laughter to deal with life’s challenges. I think that’s why I adore Ron’s writing so very much. His humour is so wonderfully black and his characters so human and flawed.”

“In the face of a frightening resurgence of antisemitism, especially in the Australia’s Arts Community, it’s imperative we encourage Jewish artists to speak up. Let’s stand behind our Jewish artists and get together for a laugh at this new black comedy about being Jewish in Australia: Rootless Cosmopolitans,” said Berezin.

Ron Elisha is a Melbourne-based playwright whose plays, over the last 40-odd years, have been produced throughout Australia and the world, with translations into several languages. He has won multiple awards, including four Australian Writers’ Guild Awards.

Elisha is best known, originally, for his plays In Duty Bound, Einstein and Two and, more recently, for The Soul Of Wittgenstein (London), Unsolicited Male and Anne Being Frank, the last enjoying a very successful off-Broadway world premiere in September 2023. Anne Being Frank won two Broadway World Awards during its recent New York season.  

Rootless Cosmopolitans
Chapel Off Chapel, 12 Little Chapel Street, Prahran
Season: 15 May – 2 June 2024
Bookings: (tickets on sale: 28 February)

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Monstrous Theatre presents Rootless Cosmopolitans (supplied)