Not ‘slightly dotty’ El­iz­a­beth

Central Leader - - NEWS - By EMMA WHIT­TAKER

Ac­tress El­iz­a­beth McRae is still go­ing strong even if it has been ‘‘100 years’’ since she got into the busi­ness.

She’s most well known for play­ing Short­land Street re­cep­tion­ist Marj Brasch in the 1990s.

In Septem­ber she’ll star in the stage com­edy Gwen in Pur­ga­tory.

It’s be­ing di­rected by her daugh­ter, Short­land Street di­rec­tor Kather­ine McRae.

‘‘She thought ‘that’d be a good part for my mum’ and it’s good be­cause I’ve al­ways wanted to work to­gether. We’ve done a few things to­gether, but noth­ing quite like this.

‘‘It’s not a prob­lem. I re­spect her as a di­rec­tor and she re­spects me as an ac­tor.’’

Gwen in Pur­ga­tory fol­lows the story of 90-year-old Gwen who is strug­gling to cope with the ar­ray of mod­ern gad­gets that fill a new house on the edge of suburbia that she’s been moved into by her dif­fi­cult chil­dren.

‘‘I like Gwen. There are not a lot of roles out there for older women. It’s strange be­cause older men seem to get nice roles, whereas older women are usu­ally batty,’’ she says.

‘‘Gwen is slightly dotty, but in many ways she’s still fine.’’

Mrs McRae and her hus­band Don McRae have lived in Mt Eden for more than 50 years.

She jokes she started act­ing 100 years ago, but in fact made her screen de­but in 1974 on the chil­dren’s mini-se­ries The Games Af­fair which was based around the Com­mon­wealth Games held here in the same year.

The 76-year-old has ap­peared in a raft of other stage pro­duc­tions since be­ing on Short­land Street.

Un­like her lat­est char­ac­ter, Mrs McRae isn’t too daunted by new tech­nolo­gies.

‘‘I’ve got an iPad. I’m not very good, but I keep try­ing.’’

Photo: EMMA WHIT­TAKER

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