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.

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.

Workshops were also held at:
the Adelaide Int. Festival for the Arts (February 1992)
New Zealand Fringe Festival (Wellington, March, 1992),
The Galaxy Theatre (Auckland, March 1992)
The Anthill Theatre, Melbourne (April 1992)
The Gloucester Stage Company, Gloucester Mass. May 1992.

Subsequent performances include:

Anthill Theatre, Melbourne, Australia (1993)
Belvoir Street Theatre, Sydney, Australia (1993)
The Jewish Museum, New York New York (1993)
Civic Theatre, Scranton Pa, 1993
Leah Poslun's Theatre, Toronto, Canada (1993)
Theatre Ariel, Philadelphia Pa. (1994)
University Theatre, Wellington, New Zealand (1994)
Repertory Theatre, Christchurch, New Zealand (1994)
Lamb's Theatre, Dunedin, New Zealand (1994)
Watershed Theatre, Auckland, New Zealand (1994)
Washington Jewish Theatre, Rockville, Maryland (1994)
Emlin Theatre, Detroit, Michigan (1995)
Center Stage , Seattle, Washington, (1995)
Hong Kong Theatre for the Arts, Hong Kong (1995)
Halle Theatre, Cleveland, Ohio (1996)
Lansin Theatre, Ann Arbour Michigan, (1996)
Kaplan Theatre, Palm Beach, Florida (1997)
Bell Centre for the Arts, Tuscon Arizona, (1998)
Osher Marin JCC, San Raphael (2000)
San Francisco JCC (2000)
Adirondak Theatre Festival (2000)
Blue Skies Speaking Arts Festival (2001)
Gordon Center for Performing Arts (2002)


Punch Me In the Stomach

Jiddische Woche, Dresden

Tour of German High Schools

Drill Hall

Salisbury International Arts Festival
Salisbury Arts Centre


Contact Deb Filler at