Conceived, Created & Performed by Joanna Caplan
Directed by Matthew Glassman
Designed by Sarah Cormier
Trailer by Gus Ganley
Developed in association with Double Edge Theatre Residency Program
Total Verrückt! premiered at The Charlestown Working Theater in Boston in May 2013 and had its Canadian premiere at the Island Fringe Festival in Prince Edward Island in August 2013 and was performed at Double Edge Theatre in December 2013. The piece was workshopped at Double Edge in June 2012, in Los Angeles as part of the Association of Jewish Theatre Conference in February 2012, and at the Toronto Fringe Festival in July 2011. It is currently available for touring.
This original devised solo theatre piece tells the true story of Jewish cabaret performers held in the Dutch transit camp of Westerbork. From 1942-44, some of Europe’s greatest artists performed at Westerbork, thereby delaying their transport to death camps. Taking its name from the Camp Westerbok Theatre Group's final production, Total Verrückt translates as "Totally Crazy." Inspired by the diaries of Jewish-Dutch poet Etty Hillesum, cabaret stars Max Ehrlich, Johnny & Jones, and Dora Gerson, Total Verrückt! asks questions about the necessity of art as a means of survival and an act of resistance.
Joanna Caplan developed Total Verrückt! in residency at Double Edge Theatre’s Farm Center in Ashfield, Massachusetts. Her creation process combines Double Edge’s immersive physical and visual training methodology with research into the legacy of Jewish artists as a way of accessing her own ancestral memory. The 50-minute performance weaves stories and characters connected to pre-war Germany, the Weimar Republic and the height of the German Cabaret. Total Verrückt! explores the Jewish imagination in the context of a world at war, examining how we live through and transcend strange and dark times.