This bold new puppet show is tackling the complex history of antisemitic traditions

In 'Vertip', which debuted in Montreal in March 2023, a puppeteer is baffled when his stereotypical Jewish puppet comes to life—and acts like an antisemitic stereotype. (Photo credit: Helena Vallès)

In March 2023, Alison Darcy and Joseph Shragge, the co-artistic directors of Scapegoat Carnivale, a theatre company in Montreal, debuted their latest work, Vertip. The show is about a puppeteer who uses stereotypical puppets, based on old Eastern European traditions, including a money-grubbing Jewish loan shark named Zyhd. One day, Zyhd comes to life—and starts demanding money.

It’s a different approach to tackling antisemitism, and not one that all audiences have been comfortable with. As Darcy and Shragge explain in the debut episode of Culturally Jewish, people aren’t sure whether they should laugh along with the jokes or automatically condemn these outdated icons of real cultural heritage.

Listen and subscribe to the first episode of Culturally Jewish, The CJN’s new podcast about the burgeoning, fascinating and diverse Canadian Jewish arts scene.


Culturally Jewish is hosted by Ilana Zackon and David Sklar. Our producer is Michael Fraiman, and our theme music is by Sarah Segal-Lazar. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To support The CJN and receive a charitable tax receipt, please consider a monthly donation by clicking here.