DES MOINES, Iowa – Thursday night, Theatre Midwest is putting on the play reading of “Hitler’s Tasters.” Based on a real-life event, the play is set during World War II, when young German girls would have to taste Hitler’s food to make sure it wasn’t poisoned.
The Theatre Midwest associate producer, Katie Privitera, said this reading speaks to women’s issues which is exactly why Theatre Midwest thought this was the perfect fit for them.
“We wanted to kind of make sure we’re varying the content. Making sure that it fit our mission, which is to uplift the voices of women and underrepresented groups,” Privitera said.
Actors have been rehearsing for about for the last six to seven weeks. Since this is a play reading there’s no staging involved. Director, Diedra Mohr, said it’s given them more time to really find nuances in the script to understand not only these fictional characters but what it was actually like living during World War II.
What also attracted Theatre Midwest to this play reading is although it’s set in the 1940s, the playwright uses modern language and pop culture to make the story more relatable while also bringing humor to a very harsh subject matter.
“As a person who read about it in history books, sometimes you have that notion where you think about World War II and all of a sudden all you can see is black and white,” Mohr said. “But this really brings a different, like I said, color to it that really brightens it up and livens it up.”
This week the students at Roosevelt High School staged a walkout to save the job of a drama teacher and in their words, save the arts. As a high school theatre director, Mohr said she applauded these students for standing up for this cause. She said she sees first-hand how important theatre can be for a young person’s character development.
“Theatre and dramatics is another way that people can grow and learn about not only themselves but the human condition. It kind of creates a community in a safe haven, and it really makes young people grow in that matter,” Mohr said.
“Hitler’s Tasters” will be performed Thursday night at Java Joe’s at 7:30 and is free to the public.