'H*tler's Tasters' by Michelle Kholos Brooks
November 24, 2022
April 24-16, 2023 at 7:30 p.m.
Squires Studio Theatre
Three times a day, every day, a group of young women have the opportunity to die for their country. They are Adolf Hitler's food tasters. And what do girls discuss as they wait to see if they will live through another meal? Like all girls, throughout time, they gossip and dream, they question and dance. They want to love, laugh, and above all, they want to survive.
Winner of the 2017 Susan Glaspell award, named 'Best of the Fringe' by The Stage and a 2019 Sell-Out Show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. "H*tler’s Tasters" is a dark comedy about the young German women who had the “honor” of being chosen as Adolf Hitler’s food tasters. Based on true events in history, "H*tler’s Tasters" explores the way girls navigate sexuality, patriotism and poison against the backdrop of war.Visitors to the Blacksburg campus Monday - Friday, 7 a.m. - 10 p.m. will need to display a parking permit, utilize the ParkMobile app, pay the daily charge for a pass, or pay for parking using an hourly meter. A range of parking options can be found here.
I understand that some people are triggered by the name, Hitler. I am too.
However, as a Jewish woman, I am more terrified by what I’m currently seeing in the world around me than I am by a name—albeit the worst name. H*tler’s Tasters is a play about many things but, most importantly, it is a play about the dangers of
The girls in H*tler’s Tasters are the girls whose families didn’t resist the tide of tyranny. They didn’t catch the signs, or, worse, they accepted the “inevitable” and looked the other way when the “others” lost their homes, their businesses, and their lives. What they failed to realize is that madmen first come for the “other,” but when there is no one left, he turns on his own. Hitler was willing to sacrifice young, German women; the future of the Reich, the potential bearer of German sons, to taste his food for poison. The tyrant is insatiable and, because power makes him even more paranoid, there is no amount of privilege—be it race, economic, social, or even family status that protects us when the tyrant turns his gaze in our direction.
Right this very minute, bad actors in government are working to undermine our country. They are once again trying to control the ability for women to have autonomy over their bodies. They are surgically and deftly slicing away at our democracy with tiny, barely noticeable cuts. However, as with the Nazi’s, these small fissures, paired with outrageous lies about immigrants, Blacks, Asians, Jews, the LGBTQ2+ community, Hispanics, Muslims, or any number of “others” are conspiring to create a chasm into which we’re all in danger of falling. It is devastating to think that our children’s children could look back and wonder why we didn’t pay attention when the signs were so glaring.
H*tler’s Tasters is also very much about the treatment of young women—the way society exploits and then discards them is a story as old as time. It’s disproportionately true for poor women and women of color, but there is not a woman in the world who has not felt the fear brought on by an unhinged male with power—be that at work or walking down the street. In H*tler’s Tasters we see the way young women, raised with Hitler as their father figure, have been indoctrinated. We have the heartbreaking experience of watching them submit to their fate.
We have a dictator in our midst right now and we are watching his lies, manipulation, and destruction in real time. We see his supporters believe they can trust this powerful male figure to do what is right. My people are from Ukraine. My great-grandparents escaped during the pogroms. Putin is calling Zelensky a Nazi when Zelensky is a Jew. These are dangerous times.
For all these reasons, H*tler’s Tasters feels more relevant today than when I conceived of it a few years ago. I wish it wasn’t. I wish I had written a story that was trapped in the amber of history. But the young women of H*tler’s Tasters are powerful reminders of what can happen when a society indulges in complacency and fails to notice that what affects some of us, eventually affects all of us.
Thank you for getting past the H-word and experiencing this play for yourself. I think you will see why so many Jewish publications, organizations, and even Holocaust survivors have supported this play. I promise it is so much more than the name of a tyrant.
Yours in peace and solidarity,
Michelle Kholos Brooks
What happens when we ignore history?
What happens when we turn a blind eye to tyranny?
What happens when we remain complacent in our own privilege and safety?
H*tler’s Tasters by Michelle Kholos Brooks is a play that poses these questions and challenges us to answer them. The play centers on four young girls whose families aligned themselves with a tyrant, ignored the warning signs, and did not resist. Recruited by the SS, these four girls were chosen for the “honor” of being Adolf Hitler’s food tasters, but begin to ask themselves if risking their lives daily is really an “honor?” As the four navigate the complexities of girlhood, they also navigate the reality of doubt, betrayal, regret, and death. They quickly learn what happens when a tyrant has no one left to control. He comes for his own. Desire for power does not discriminate.
H*tler’s Tasters ultimately examines how far we have come, and how much further we have to go. Mere weeks ago there were Neo Nazi protests outside of the Broadway production of Parade. Anti-Semitism is on the rise in our country, and if we, like the families of the four girls turn a blind eye to it, and remain complacent, we are doomed to repeat history. We have the power to resist. We must resist.
Sarah Elizabeth Yorke