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“The Escape Act – A Holocaust Memoir” is a one-woman theatre show incorporating circus and puppetry. It is based on the life of Irene Danner, a Jewish acrobat who survived the Holocaust hiding from the Nazis at a German circus. The show goes back and forth between past and present, between character and performer, and combines the historical events of Irene’s life with the experiences of the performer as a grandchild to Holocaust survivors.
The play examines Irene’s life between 1933 and 1945: from a teen witnessing the rise of the Third Reich, through joining the circus undercover, to falling in love and starting her own family – all under the protection of the Althoff Circus. As the performer travels through Irene’s life it triggers memories of her own family history, of struggles, inherited traumas and their domino effect – and with the past looming closer and closer, she is forced to invite it in.
Both a historical and theatrical project, it is a culmination of seven years of research into the lives of German-Jewish circus families between 1929-1945.
The Spy in the Stalls
Upper Circle Theatre
London City Nights
Plays to See