Performing the Jewish Archive

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Harlequin in the Ghetto

Frederic March Play Circle, Memorial Union, 800 Langdon Street



Students from Louisiana State University perform a new play based on a commedia dell’arte-inspired script written in the Theresienstadt Ghetto.

In the World War II Jewish ghetto at Theresienstadt, a young prisoner, Zdenek Jelinek, wrote a play in the commedia dell’arte style about a question of urgent interest to them all:  would Harlequin, the lovable clown, escape the clutches of the Capitano?  Survivors vividly recalled this play for its poetry, its idealism, and for its humour.  The script, titled Comedy about a Trap, was thought lost until recently.  This performace is based on preserved fragments of the script, survivor testimony and research into the cultural life of the ghetto. The performance explores the political commitment of the young author, his prewar sources of inspiration, and a question for our own day: what are we to make of a comedy written during the Holocaust?  A talk back will follow this

Audiences at this event will be filmed. By attending this event, you consent to your being filmed as part of the audience and the footage being used for a research study (sponsored and conducted by the University of York, United Kingdom) including analysis by third party data analysis services. This footage will remain confidential, and your image will not be published or identified. If you do not wish to be filmed as part of the audience, the research team will seat you in an area of the auditorium which has no camera coverage. Please refer to notices at the event for further information.

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