A Play About Dictating Tastes Comes to Guild Hall

The cast of "Hitler's Tasters." Photo by Zach Griffin.

One table. Three chairs. Four girls. Guild Hall will be presenting the New Light Theater Project’s production of Michelle Kholos Brooks’s award-winning play “Hitler’s Tasters” from Thursday to Saturday, September 9-11. Inspired by true events, the play will take the stage of the John Drew Theater.

Just because you align yourself with a dictator doesn’t mean you get a pass. It’s Germany in 1943 and three times a day, every day, a group of young German 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 and laugh, and above all, they want to survive.

History has revealed that Margot Woelk was a German secretary who, among 15 young women in 1942, were selected to taste German leader Adolf Hitler’s food at the Wolf’s Lair in East Prussia for two and a half years in order to confirm that it was safe to eat. She was the only one of the 15 to survive World War II, and her background as Hitler’s food taster was not revealed until a newspaper interview on her 95th birthday in December 2012.

“Hitler’s Tasters” is written by Michelle Kholos Brooks, directed by Sarah Norris, and features Hallie Griffin, MaryKathryn Kopp, Kaitlin Paige Longoria and Hannah Mae Sturges.

“This play is the Little-Show-That-Could,” said Brooks. “It has chugged along through numerous cities, generated by the great intention and passion of an extraordinary group of women. I think the investment of this all-female cast and crew has been in part due to the relevance of ‘Hitler’s Tasters’ today, even though it takes place in the 1940s. The parallels have been uncanny — spooky even. We have found connections and adapted accordingly throughout the election, the Kavanagh hearings and COVID, to name a few.”

“Hitler’s Tasters” had its world premiere on April 6, 2018, at Centenary Stage in Hackettstown, New Jersey, and its New York City premiere on October 5, 2018, with New Light Theater Project. It is the recipient of 2017 Women Playwrights Series, Susan Glaspell Award, named ‘Best of Fringe’ by The Stage UK, and was a sell-out show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

“I could not be more pleased that Guild Hall is bringing this gorgeous — inside and out — team back to the stage in East Hampton,” said Brooks. “I feel confident that the young women of ‘Hitler’s Tasters’ will charm their way into the hearts of the Guild Hall audience, the way that they have throughout the United States and Europe. They will make you cry, gasp and laugh — even when it feels a little uncomfortable to do so.”

“Hitler’s Tasters” runs September 9-11 at 8 p.m. Tickets In are $50 ($35 Guild Hall members/$30 under 30) at guildhall.org and the Friday night performance includes a post-show talk back and audience Q&A with the playwright. Guild Hall is at 158 Main Street, East Hampton.