For twelve years, from 1933 – 1945, the vile machinery of the Third Reich was orchestrated in such a way as to bring about the annihilation of Clara Reich.

But the Third Reich collapsed, the war ended, and Clara was still alive.

From that day forth - every year, just before her birthday - she has been compelled to attend the German Consul and, in a supreme irony, present them with a Lebensbescheinegung: A Certificate Of Life.

In this way, the German government satisfies itself that the recipients of its reparation pensions are indeed still alive.

Clara, of course, has never forgotten what happened to her: The perfunctory killing of her husband, the vicious slaughter of her two-year-old daughter, the torture and destruction of every other member of her entire extended family. Never forgotten and never forgiven.

Separated from a brutish second husband, whom she never loved, she lives with her only daughter, Hilda.

Together, the two of them exist – year in, year out – in the shadow of the Holocaust.

And together, each year, they attend the German Consul, in order to prove that Clara is still alive.

But is she?

Certificate Of Life is a dark, blackly comic, ferocious, compelling and, ultimately, deeply moving exploration of what it is to be human and to be alive.

  • drama
  • 80
  • 3 total
  • 3 female identifying
  • 18+
  • adult
  • Australian Script Centre


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Female | 40s | under 3 minutes
Starts on page 76

EXTRACT: Many of you will be surprised that we stand here, before God, in the presence of a rabbi. Clara, you’ll protest, was no fan of the Deity. So what are we doing here – you, me, the good rabbi and God?.. When Hilda found her mother’s body, next to four empty containers of sleeping tablets, she searched for some clue as to why. All she found was this. A brief, almost cryptic note written in her mother’s small, spidery scrawl. Permit me to read it to you. (reading): “Roses are red, violets a re blue; Born, suffered, died a Jew.”


Female | Unspecified | under 3 minutes
Starts on page 38

EXTRACT: She doesn’t know how lucky she is. I arrived in this country with thirty-eight pounds in my pocket and the dress I was standing in. Didn’t speak a word of English. Got pregnant with Hilda. Her father – may his bones be broken and his blood scattered over hell - was worse than useless. Couldn’t hold down a job. Drank and smoked away what little money we did have. So I was out there – a woman who, in another time, another place could’ve been a surgeon or a professor – cleaning other people’ s shit.

Adult themes


The Cameri Theatre

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