‘Diary of Anne Frank’ gets intimate showing at David Douglas High School

See this moving story about families – hiding from the Nazis for two years, during World War II – up close in this special presentation in the DDHS Small Box Theater …

Sitting in the moonlight, Anne Frank (Marissa Hanson) and Peter Van Daan (Zeke Fetrow) ponder how life would be if they were “normal” teenagers, not living in hiding.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Audiences have come to associate the David Douglas High School Theater Department with great productions of larger-than-life musicals and broad comedies. But their winter show this year, “The Diary of Anne Frank”, is thought-provoking, presented in their intimate theater.

“This is the first major show we’ve done in our Small Box Theatre downstairs for ten years,” says director Judy LeCoq. “In this theater, the 74 audience members sit up-close to the actors. It’s almost like you’re right there, with the Frank family, as they hide from the Nazis in an attic during the Holocaust.”

For a few moments, the families hiding out in the attic from the Nazis are joyful when they learn of the successful Normandy invasion.  Their joy is short-lived.

About the story
“The Diary of Anne Frank” is drawn from a thirteen-year-old girl’s diary she started writing in 1942. She, her family, and four other people went into hiding in sealed-off upper rooms of her father’s office building in Amsterdam. Her father’s trusted colleagues helped them remain hidden for two years and one month – until their betrayal.

“It’s about Anne’s desire to live, beyond her situation, as a normal teenager,” says LeCoq about the story. “Anne has been recognized as a tremendous writer. And, this newly-adapted version of an award-winning play reveals the stress of confinement, awkward teenage relationships, and the tension and fear of betrayal.”

Working on a scene from the play, Judy LeCoq directs the David Douglas High School thespians.

Members of Mark Taylor’s Theater Arts class built a realistic set that focuses attention on the 12 cast members. A student crew runs the lighting and sound system and provides stage management.

“It’s not intended for a very young audience because it’s dark material,” cautions LeCoq. “It’s appropriate for young people aged nine and above; the book is required reading for most middle-school students.”

Two weeks only
David Douglas High School Thespians production of “The Diary of Anne Frank” debuts on March 6 at 7:30 p.m.

Evening shows follow on March 7 and 8, and again on March 13, 14 and 15. On March 9, the offer a 2:30 p.m. matinee performance.

The DDHS Small Box Theater is located on the lower level of the Howard Horner Performing Arts Center, 1400 SE 130th Ave., Portland, OR 97233. This theater is handicapped accessible.

Tickets are $5 for students and $7 for adults. For ticket information, call the David Douglas Box Office at (503) 261-8270.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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