The Matriarchs

The Matriarchs are anything but. Six squabbling teenage girls at a Talmud lesson negotiate snacks and sex as they grow up and out of orthodoxy and meet the world with their questions. Loosely based on the underwritten women of the Torah and interviews with women wondering about fertility.

Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Winner
Created with Civilians’ R&D
...
The Matriarchs are anything but. Six squabbling teenage girls at a Talmud lesson negotiate snacks and sex as they grow up and out of orthodoxy and meet the world with their questions. Loosely based on the underwritten women of the Torah and interviews with women wondering about fertility.

Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Winner
Created with Civilians’ R&D
Princess Grace finalist
Blue Ink finalist
Theater J Abramson Prize finalist
Premiere Stages semi finalist
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The Matriarchs

Recommended by

  • Danielle Frimer:
    8 Aug. 2023
    "The Matriarchs" is a stunning portrait of girls, womxn, mothers, and friends from a brilliant mind; a story made all the more universal because of its hyper specificity. Come for the girls arguing about Halachic law as it pertains to pimple popping, stay for the gorgeously observed nuances of growing up whilst female. I eagerly await seeing this play on stages soon.
  • jose sebastian alberdi:
    12 Jul. 2023
    Liba Vaynberg's The Matriachs is brilliant. This play unfolds like one of those too-short nights spent (lovingly) arguing with your friends about the mysteries and complexities of human life and existence. I got to see two readings of the play at O'Neill National Playwrights Conference and both times left the theatre a little smiley, a little in awe, and a little heartbroken thinking about what it means to be a human, a parent, a child, and a friend in a world that feels more uncertain by the hour. I'd love to see this play produced ASAP!
  • Jan Rosenberg:
    10 Jul. 2023
    Liba's universe is beautiful. This play reads like a novel. A beautiful, hilarious, and bittersweet journey of growing up and growing apart. And asking questions and being afraid of the answer. Achingly gorgeous, and a fascinating exploration of the Talmud and fertility.

Character Information

  • Sara
    20s-50s,
    Ashkenazi Jewish
    traditional, passionate, seemingly barren
  • Rivkah (later Rebecca)
    20s-50s,
    Ashkenazi Jewish
    a meticulous revolutionary, queer
  • Rachel
    20s-50s,
    Any / Jewish
    bright but has a death wish, Leah’s fraternal twin.
  • Leah
    20s-50s,
    Any / Jewish
    gloomy but funny, Rachel’s fraternal twin.
  • Miriam
    20s-50s,
    Any / Jewish
    quiet prophet, always in conversation with either God or her mother
  • Tzipporah
    20s-50s,
    Black or Biracial w/Black and Jewish
    an anxious faithful romantic
  • The Voice
    40s-60s,
    Any Race
    ,
    Almost any gender except cis male
    Heard, but never seen. Maybe a slight New England accent. Brisk, wise.

Development History

  • Reading
    ,
    Civilians & TheaterLab, dir. Dina Vovsi
    ,
    2022
  • Residency
    ,
    Civilians R&D Group
    ,
    2022

Awards

Finalist
,
Blue Ink Award
,
American Blues Theater
,
2023
Finalist
,
Abramson Prize
,
Theater J
,
2022