See photos of this moving show, which ends this weekend! There may be a few seats still unclaimed …
Rather than be split up in Nazi “relocation camps”, Anne (Marissa Hanson), along with her father, Otto (Sam DeRoest), sister Margot (Kaila Munay), and mother Edith (Laura Leonard) take up residence in the hidden attic of the family business for nearly two years.
Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Before the show opened, we told our readers that the David Douglas High School Theater Department’s intimate, small-box production of “The Diary of Anne Frank” would probably sell out – and it has.
The school’s Small Box Theatre, located under their massive theater’s main stage, seats 74 audience members. “It’s almost like you’re right there, with the Frank family, as they hide from the Nazis in an attic during the Holocaust,” comments director Judy LeCoq.
Anne and her sister, Margot, wonder what lies ahead as they first walk into the small attic that will become their new home.
About the story
The central character of “The Diary of Anne Frank” actually kept a diary of her life and experiences, starting the week before the thirteen-year-old girl and her family went into hiding in 1942. The play, drawn from the pages of Frank’s diary, tells how she, her family, and four other people went into hiding in sealed-off upper rooms of her father’s office building in Amsterdam – until they were betrayed.
LeCoq says, “Anne has been recognized as a tremendous writer. And, this newly-adapted version of the award-winning play reveals the stress of confinement, awkward teenage relationships, and the tension and fear of betrayal.”
Thanks to the realistic set that focuses the audience’s attention on the dozen players, the work of Mark Taylor’s Theater Arts class significantly adds to the quality of the production – as does the student crew running lights, sound, and taking care of stage management duties.
While some critics might say the production is an extreme departure from their ensemble’s usual musical-comedy fare, LeCoq responds, “The book, on which the play is based, is required reading for most middle-school students. And, the story of Anne Frank is one that should never be forgotten.”
Because Anne Frank was a young teenager when her family went into hiding, she never got to experience life as most kids do. In this scene, she and friend-in-hiding Peter Van Daan (Zeke Fetrow) wonder if they’ll ever have a normal life, outside the confines of the attic.
Show ends Saturday night
“The Diary of Anne Frank” ends on March 15. There may be some last-minute seats available. Call the David Douglas Box Office at (503) 261-8270 to check.
The DDHS Small Box Theater is located on the lower level of the Howard Horner Performing Arts Center, 1400 SE 130th Avenue, Portland, OR 97233. This theater is handicapped-accessible.
Thinking they are about to be rescued, the families hiding from the Nazis feel joy for the first time in two years. Minutes later, they realize that a Nazi sympathizer has reported them – and they are moments away from being marched off to concentration camps – and certain death.
© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service