In September, Hitler’s Daughter, by award-winning author Jackie French, will be brought to life on the stage at HOTA by Monkey Baa Theatre Company.
Beginning early morning, somewhere in the Australian countryside, four children wait for the school bus and they decide to play a game; a simple game of story-telling.
The story begins with four kids at a bus stop and one of them starts to tell a story. You only realise halfway through she is manipulating what they want the story to be about. And then you realise it’s a story about an imaginary person, Hitler’s daughter.
As they shelter in the bus stop from a raging storm an intriguing story about the daughter of one of the most dreaded men in history come to life.
Monkey Baa theatre company do an incredible job bringing this story to life. They manage to convey more than 70 years of history, including World War II, and transport you from a Bavarian forest to a bus stop to a school. They create an amazingly believable world on stage with sound and visual effects that immerse you in an imaginary new world – one moment you can see the gum trees in amazing details, the next moment you’re in a bombed-out building in Berlin.
You may think that a play about Hitler and such a dark period of history may be too scary or confronting for kids.
It’s is a book about big themes but it’s far enough away that they are not frightening. The kids know that this happened in the past, they don’t need to worry about it. This is a play and a book that asks questions. In a world like this where we are bombarded with media and you’re getting so many opinions, how do you know what is good? what is evil? what is right? what is wrong?
And what power do you have as a young person?’ What can you do when you are 14 and realise the wrong things are happening? No one listens to 14 years olds.
It also poses the question – do we bear the guilt of the wrong things that our ancestors did? Or do we only bear the guilt if we share in what they got from it?
But this is not a depressing play, the genius of Monkey Baa’s production is that it will make you laugh throughout, it’s only afterwards that the question seeps in.
It’s very much a play that poses questions and doesn’t spoon-feed you any answers. Jackie’s intention was that kids would leave with their minds exploding with questions that they are going to think about and talk to each other about. It’s about searching for truth in a world or half-truths, something that resonates today in a world or propaganda and fake news.
It’s so easy to underestimate kids and assume all kids want stuff that is superficial and facile. This is a play that speaks to kids because the job of a kid is to understand how the world works, and the way that adulthood works and to make them think and ask questions.
When the performance finishes something extraordinary usually happens. The audience sit there completely still at the end for about 10 seconds then they start cheering and stamping, and they keep on cheering and stamping.
Kids 10 and upwards will be absorbed by this award-winning performance as it poses powerful questions and examines moral issues in relation to society’s fears and prejudices in a fresh, compelling light.
POST-SHOW TALK AND Q&A WITH JACKIE FRENCH
Join us for a very special 30-minute talk followed by a 10 minute Q&A with Jackie French, author of Hitler’s Daughter after the 11 am performance on Fri 13 Sept.
Jackie French is an award-winning Australian author who has written over 140 books and won more than 60 national and international awards. She’s one of Australia’s most popular authors and Hitler’s Daughter is one of her most critically acclaimed books. It won the UK Wow! Award, a Semi Grand Prix Japan Award and is listed as a blue-ribbon book in the USA.
Venue // HOTA, (Theatre 1), 135 Bundall Rd, Surfers Paradise
Times // Thursday 12 Sept, 7.30pm & Friday 13 Sept, 11am
Cost // $22.50
Duration // 65 minutes
Recommended Ages // 10+