'Hitler’s Daughter' comes to the stage on March 17

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Australia’s Monkey Baa Theatre Company asks audiences to ponder what it would be like to be the child of the most hated man in history when it performs "Hitler’s Daughter" at 2 p.m. March 17, in Penn State’s Eisenhower Auditorium.

The play, recommended for people 10 and older, poses powerful questions about a frightening period in history and compels audiences to examine moral issues in relation to society’s fears and prejudices.

Tickets for the Center for the Performing Arts presentation are $15 for an adult, $8 for a University Park student and $15 for a person 18 and younger. Tickets are available online at www.cpa.psu.edu or by phone at 814-863-0255 and 800-ARTS-TIX. Tickets are also available at four State College locations: Eisenhower Auditorium (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays), Penn State Downtown Theatre Center (9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays), HUB-Robeson Center Information Desk (11 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays when Penn State classes are in session) and Bryce Jordan Center (10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays). A grant from the University Park Allocation Committee makes Penn State student prices possible.

Based on a novel by Jackie French, "Hitler’s Daughter" tells the tale of four children: Mark, Ben, Anna and Tracey. As the friends wait for the school bus on a stormy morning, Anna tells the imagined tale of Heidi, the disfigured daughter of Adolph Hitler, who is caught in the chaos of World War II and hidden out of shame by her infamous father.

The play, described as “emotive and gripping” by Australian Jewish News, switches between Nazi Germany and contemporary Australia as Mark becomes engrossed in the story. As the play unfolds, he seeks answers from his friends, parents and teacher. His search for truth helps him to begin to understand the ways of the world. Could Heidi have stopped the atrocities of war, genocide and hate her father waged? Would Mark have acted differently in Heidi’s place?

The play reaches its climax with the bombing of Berlin, the fall of the Third Reich and the loss of Heidi’s innocence.

The Australian media praised the production. “The journey was spellbinding,” wrote a reviewer for The Gladstone Observer. “Evocative and entertaining … deft and poignant,” noted a critic for the Launceston Review. A writer for Low Down Magazine observed that Hitler’s Daughter features “wonderful performances. … It stayed with me for weeks.”

Based in Sydney, Monkey Baa (as in monkey bar pronounced by an Aussie) has achieved critical acclaim and enjoys an international reputation for producing quality theater programs for young audiences.

Audio description, which is especially helpful to patrons with sight loss, is available for this performance at no extra charge to ticket holders.

Panels from the Sydney Jewish Museum will be on display at Eisenhower on the day of the show.

The public is invited to participate in an intergenerational book discussion about the novel "Hitler’s Daughter" at 10 a.m. March 12, in State College Area High School South Building. The 90-minute discussion is a collaboration among State High English students, the Penn State Intergenerational Program (rooted in Penn State Extension) and the Centre County Office of Aging. State High culinary arts students will provide refreshments. To register and obtain the handout — "Exploring the Holocaust: An Intergenerational Conversation About Conflict, Reconciliation and Peace" — contact Medora Ebersole at mde13@psu.edu by March 1. With sufficient interest, a follow-up discussion will be scheduled.

The Butterfly Project display, a collaboration between Penn State Hillel students and the fifth- and sixth-grade classes at State College’s Congregation Brit Shalom, is on exhibit at the Penn State Pasquerilla Spiritual Center main lobby through March 18.

McQuaide Blasko Endowment sponsors the play. Artistic Viewpoints, an informal moderated discussion featuring the show’s cast members, is offered in Eisenhower one hour before the March 17 performance and is free for ticket holders. Seating for Artistic Viewpoints is limited.

Photos of "Hitler’s Daughter" for media use are available to download at http://cpa.psu.edu/internal/presslibrary.html.

Find the Center for the Performing Arts on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pscpa.

Last Updated February 26, 2013