The Diary of Anne Frank | Theater | Indy Week
Pin It

The Diary of Anne Frank 

Is there anyone in America who does not know the story told in The Diary of Anne Frank? Two Jewish families—plus one irascible dentist—hide from Nazis during World War II in a secret annex behind Otto Frank's company in Amsterdam. Fed and protected by their friends, they survive close confinement, clashing temperaments and growling hunger for more than two years—almost to the day of liberation—only to be caught and sent to the death camps in the last months of the war.

Only Otto—and Anne's diary—survived. Abandoned when she was taken, it was recovered after the war and given to Otto, who published an edited version. A play and a movie were made in the 1950s. A later version of the play contains more of Anne's growth into a sexual being.

A blend of both versions is directed here by Abdelfattah Abusrour, a Palestinian theatre artist who had no previous experience with the play, though he had read the diary. Having grown up in a refugee camp, he brings considerable insight to the material. His approach is straightforward and honest—fresh enough to rivet one's attention, if not particularly innovative.

Burning Coal casts young actors when it can, and this production shows how effective they can be in portraying people their own ages.

The demanding role of Anne is filled by 10th-grader Samantha Rahn, who has already done impressive work at Burning Coal and elsewhere in the region. She portrays Anne as a hyper-intense adolescent, mercurial and difficult but nearly bursting out of her skin with vitality and adventurousness.

Tenth-grader Anna Grey Voelker makes Anne's quieter sister Margot into a real person, not just a foil. And Josh Martin, another high-schooler, grows before our eyes as shy Peter van Daan, first repulsed and then captivated by Anne's bold ways.

The "grown-ups," as Anne calls them, are realized by more seasoned actors. Jenn Suchanec, as the feisty yet frightened Mrs. van Daan, and John Allore, as the brave and loving Otto Frank, are particularly moving.

The staging is very effective: After having your papers checked by a couple of actors portraying Nazi officers, you ascend to a low room on the balcony and throng around the set—the compact world of the tiny annex—where Matthew Adelson's very good lighting design and Aharon Segal's wonderful ambient sounds intensify the experience.

  • At Murphey School Auditorium through April 27

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Theater



Twitter Activity

Comments

Four of our friends accompanied us to this production. We have seen other Wendy Ward productions and loved them all …

by Gann Watson on Embark on a Timely Voyage Into Immigration Issues in I Wish You a Boat (Theater)

Thanks for the correction, Dustin. The playbill listed the wrong actor in the role.

by Byron Woods, INDY Theater and Dance Critic on Evaluating Bare Theatre's Experiment in Free Public Shakespeare on the Eve of Its Final Show (Theater)

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation