I attended Sunday's Burning Coal performance of Anne Frank, and for the most was totally captivated by the performance of this classic that touches my heart, being the son of two concentration camp survivors (review of The Diary of Anne Frank, April 9).
Having said that I mustreport that I was dumbfounded, shocked and insulted by the pre-show confrontations with Nazis and the curtain call where deceased Jews are bowing at gunpoint before a Nazi soldier, which was staged by the theater. I witnessed another man, equally enraged, tear off a Jewish star that was put on his jacket, I suppose to give him a feel for what happened. He was an elderly Jewish man and totally outraged by this.
I quickly walked past the actor dressed as a Nazi, and, shaking, took my seat. Then after seeing such a powerful show end with at best an absurd curtain call with deceased Jews bowing at the call of the Nazi soldier, I left, not enriched by a great performance but incensed at the total disrespect shown to family members who touched by the Holocaust.
Then today I read where your reviewer Kate Dobbs Arial praised not only the show, which was very compelling, but also the pre-show confrontations of guests of the theater by actors dressed up like Nazi soldiers. She, then, is just as insensitive as the theater not to recognize how some Jewish people would react. And I would expect her editors at least to recognize how offensive this attempt at added realism—or whatever—would be to those touched by the Holocaust.
The show itself sufficiently moved the audience and portrayed the abject heartache of those hiding from, then captured by Nazis. It needed no insulting gimmicks by the director. Those I accompanied to the show only talked about this when it was over and not the show itself. I recognize directors' inclinations to add realism to shows, but it shouldn't be done at the expense of the victims' feelings. And Ms. Dobbs Arial needs some sensitivity training.
Robert Segal, Raleigh