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SATURDAY & SUNDAY
Roberto Benigni made us laugh amidst the horror of the Holocaust in Life Is Beautiful, but attendees of the 1997 Washington Jewish Film Festival might remember that Deb Filler did it first in her one-woman, 36-character film, Punch Me in the Stomach (pictured). The film blends humor with a few costume changes to recount both Filler’s experiences as a child of Holocaust survivors and a visit to Auschwitz she made with her father. “It sounds funny, I know, but you have to keep your sense of humor,” Filler, as her father, says at the former concentration camp. “We laughed the whole first night in Auschwitz.” Filler brings her shtick to the D.C. Jewish Community Center this week to conquer another difficult topic: Jewish women and food. Her performance piece FillerUp! A Show About Jewish Women and Food opens with Filler as Edith, a Julia Child-esque chef who hosts the television program Eat Already! As she prepares for an on-air lunch with her mother, Edith morphs into more than a dozen different characters, including Vippy Feldman, a self-help therapist turned best-selling author; Sheree, Edith’s lover and a founding member of the Lesbian Avengers, who organizes protest rallies against Jenny Craig; and Edith’s sister Estelle, a compulsive eater who remembers the ingredients of a sandwich she consumed more than 20 years ago. Save room for dessert: Filler bakes hot cinnamon rolls during the performance and serves them up at evening’s end. Filler performs FillerUp!, which is followed by a screening of Punch Me in the Stomach, at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 12, and 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, June 13, at the D.C. Jewish Community Center, 16th & Q Sts. NW. $25.50. (202) 518-9400. (Elissa Silverman)