While the childish voice of Anne Frank, played by Simone Jolly, leads us into the story of the hidden warehouse attic, we start our journey into Hell. We know the Frank family and their friends and neighbors will probably not make it through the war alive.
Imagine living with your parents, your sister, an unrelated family, and a stranger in a small confined space with death waiting outside your door . . . for more than two years . . . seeing the same seven faces . . . slowly starving . . . and witnessing the change in those you love. The Diary of Anne Frank, performed by an excellent cast, shares the story and the growing weight of madness, oppression, and fear . . . all described in a daily journal by a young girl who never had the chance to grow up.
Not only is the story true, but the oppression and the hatred that created it is perhaps waiting for us, again . . . just around the corner . . . and not a world away. A lack of empathy for fellow human beings breeds indifference . . . and the natural consequence of callousness.
We watch the disintegration of these regular people who succumb to fear and worse. We look for the positive human traits. During both acts we see the families doing what they can to behave normally while the rest of the world goes about their daily lives. However, it is the intermission that drives home the point. While the audience leaves their seats to visit the bathrooms or buy popcorn or cookies, the actors continue to walk around the stage doing their daily business, interacting and quietly conversing. The through the looking glass version of the play is surreal and says much more than dialog.
James A. Gilletti, a real estate broker who studied theater at Pacific Lutheran University plays Anne Frank’ sympathetic father; his character tries to keep the hide-aways together and sane; however, it’s a slowly losing proposition.
Oafish Mr. van Dann (Craig Rock), husband of Mrs. van Dann (Brynne Garman) went down the rabbit hole of anger and greed and dragged his wife and son, as well as his fellow inmates with him.
Through-out the production we root for Anne Frank and the young Peter van Dann (Jackson Androski) but falling in love and living happily ever after only happens in fairy tales. The Diary of Anne Frank is not a fairy tale.
The childish voice of Simone Jolly as Anne Frank leads us into the lives and ultimate deaths of the hidden ghosts. Her voice gains strength as the play moves on. We know she will not grow much older. Against all hope, we know the end result when we see her plaid journal, abandoned on the floor of the once hidden attic.
All photos by Tim Johnston.
The play runs thru May 8th. Get you tickets at – tix6.centerstageticketing.com/sites/lakewoodplayhouse/event-details.php?e=223
Source: The Suburban Times