Merchant Adventurers’ Arts Discovery Event
‘I don't know if anyone today … can imagine what laughter meant in a Nazi concentration camp,’ wrote a survivor of the World War II Jewish ghetto at Terezín/Theresienstadt in 1961. More than 40 years later, several original scripts written in the ghetto came to light—and almost all of them are comedies. In this lecture Dr Lisa Peschel will examine them through the lens of recent research on the social effects of humour: how are we to decode the ‘inside jokes’ in these plays, and how might comic theatre have created the psychological effects the survivors claim? The lecture features short scenes from the plays performed by University of York students and directed by Dr Karen Quigley.
About the speaker:
Lisa Peschel studied at the University of Texas where she researched theatrical performance in the World War II Jewish ghetto at Terezín (in German, Theresienstadt), completing and staging a play about the cultural life of the ghetto. She went on to study for a PhD at the University of Minnesota, spending some time in the Czech Republic interviewing Terezín survivors and searching for previous unpublished scripts. Her PhD was completed in 2009 on survivor testimony about theatrical performance in the ghetto.
After postdoctoral fellowships at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC and the Center for Jewish Studies at Harvard University, Lisa was appointed Lecturer in Theatre at the Department of Theatre, Film and Television at the University of York in September 2011.