Michelle Kholos Brooks
I understand that some people are triggered by the name, Hitler. I am too. However, as a Jew, 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 complacency.
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 LGBTQ+ community, Hispanics, Afghans, 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 being concerned enough to reach out. That means you are someone who cares and pays attention. In other words, a theatergoer! We hope you will see the show, and experience for yourself why so many Jewish publications, organizations, even a Holocaust survivor has supported this play. I promise it is so much more than the name of a tyrant.
Yours in peace and solidarity,
Michelle Kholos Brooks