By Michelle Yang
This winter, Theatre South will visit Anne Frank in its winter play production, The Diary of Anne Frank by Wendy Kesselman, adapted in 1997 from the original 1955 stage play by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett.
Although the play explores a sensitive topic, Mr. Thomas Marr, director of Theatre South, views it as thematically important and relevant, especially because of the events that have been occurring in Israel.
“It seemed timely to me that we see this story about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances because any of us could be those people,” said Mr. Marr. “Although the Holocaust and Hitler were specific to that time, who’s to say that [something like that] won’t happen in the future?”
To Mr. Marr, theatre is “as important in teaching history and the human condition as social studies and English are. We don’t want to repeat the same mistakes, so that we see the warning signs, so that we be active in our society in trying to stop the rise of hatred.”
In addition to the diary itself, the adapted play makes use of more recently discovered writings and survivor accounts, which, according to Mr. Marr, add additional dimensions to the characters, revealing more about their flaws and relationships with one another.
Therefore, even for those who have read the diary, the play will offer new insight and add intimacy to the story.
“As we progress [through time,]” said Mr. Marr, “[history] becomes more and more symbolic, and we become more and more detached from it. [It’s] important that we look back […]and remember these people as people— as something more than mere symbols.”
As in past years, the audience will be seated on stage so that the audience and actors will be mere meters away from one another, creating an atmosphere in which the audience too will be in the attic along with the struggling families—following their straining relationships and developments, recognizing their individual “flaws and their foibles,” according to Mr. Marr, while also feeling their hopes “against all odds to survive.”
The play, featuring two casts, will be shown Wednesday through Saturday, Feb. 4 to Feb. 7, at 7:30 pm.