PUNCH ME IN THE STOMACH is the astonishingly poignant theatre piece which has elicited raves. The show is a journey to the heart. The 36 characters she depicts in her remarkable solo performance, balance humour, love, passion and pathos and the ability to laugh in the face of the Holocaust. Humour has rarely been associated with the Holocaust, but in this rich, funny and poignant performance, Filler creates the qualities of the universal family out of the family she lost.
Written by Deb Filler and Alison Summers and directed by Summers, this groundbreaking off-Broadway show celebrates love for family, especially for the extended family of one survivor of Auschwitz who made his home after the war in New Zealand. He is accompanied on a journey back to the camps by his comedian daughter Deb.
In this powerful story which alternates between howlingly funny and disarmingly poignant, based on her highly acclaimed off Broadway play produced by New York Theatre Workshop (RENT), Filler recreates the diverse eclectic experiences of her far-flung family by magically transforming herself into character after character. “New Zealand, land of no blintzes” is one description of her life as the daughter of a survivor of Auschwitz growing up in Antipodean isolation.
This is the story of a Holocaust survivor with a difference. How do we find humour in our most difficult moments? Is a sense of humour hereditary? These stories mould themselves into a comic repetoire which is daring and delicate. Black humor at its absolute best.
PUNCH ME IN THE STOMACH was first produced off Broadway by New York Theatre Workshop in June 1992
It was workshopped at La Mama etc New York in June 1991, and November 1991.
“Sheer genius..” Globe and Mail, Toronto