Travel tales given dark humour and poignancy
Deb Filler’s rich life experiences and haunting family background are evident in her performances.
And her latest, I Lost it in Kiev, promises to be no different.
Ms Filler shares many true stories in the 80-minute solo performance, peppered with her trademark dark humour.
Like the time she was about to embark on a oneyear scholarship in Israel as a teenager.
Her father, a Holocaust survivor, asked her to look for anyone from his home town in Poland.
‘‘I asked everybody I met from Poland . . . one day someone asked me where my father came from and one thing led to another and through that I was able to provide my father with a link to everybody who lived in that town.’’
Her father got ‘‘caught up in the net’’ of World War II and was imprisoned in several death camps from 1942 to 1945.
After he was liberated from Terezin concentration camp in 1945, he spent another four years in a displaced persons’ camp before making his way to Australia.
There, he met his wife and the couple moved to New Zealand and set up a bakery on Dominion Rd.
‘‘Subconsciously he never made the distinction between being in Auschwitz and being in a bakery; he was working 22 hours a day apparently, which was unheard of.
‘‘He was just trying to establish us, buying a car and doing all the things you do,’’ she says.
The veteran writer, actress and comedian has performed in New York, Berlin, Edinburgh, Los Angeles, London, Melbourne and Montreal.
It’s a long way from Mt Roskill where she grew up attending Mt Roskill primary, intermediate and grammar schools.
Ms Filler was an early entertainer, joining the Little Folk Singers of Mt Roskill at age 9.
Ms Filler left New Zealand in her mid-twenties and travelled across America before settling in New York.
She spent several years studying theatre while waitressing.
For the last 15 years she has lived in Toronto, Canada.
Ms Filler describes her shows as ‘‘storytelling with humour and a lot of poignancy’’.
‘‘Because of my background I don’t take my life for granted,’’ she says.
‘‘Laughter is definitely powerful energy and so is feeling and heart so I try to connect that too.’’
I Lost it in Kiev is a collection of travel stories, she says.
‘‘Auckland’s changed a huge amount but there’s always a pull to come home to the security, the simplicity and the joy.
‘‘But the irony is I’m always stuck in traffic and running around here or there.’’
Master storyteller: Writer and comedian Deb Filler is performing at the Maidment Theatre.
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Alter ego: Deb Filler’s solo show draws on her East European family background.