Spotlight on The Diary of Anne Frank at Tantallon CommunityBy Laura & Mike Clark • Mar 4th, 2007 • Category: Interviews
Listen to Mike talk with Lauren Bloom, director of Tantallon Community Players’ production of The Diary of Anne Frank [MP3 6:15 1.8MB]. This interview was recorded before the play opened on February 23rd, but due to technical problems, we were unable to publish it earlier.
Mike: Hi this is Mike with ShowBizRadio and we have our spotlight today on the Tantallon Community Players. Lauren Bloom is with them and they are doing The Diary of Anne Frank opening this weekend. How are you Lauren?
Lauren: Hi. Pleasure to be here Mike. Thank you for having me on.
Mike: Sure, not a problem. Can you summarize the Diary of Anne Frank and the production that you’re doing?
Lauren: The Diary of Anne Frank is a staged version of the story of Anne Frank. A fourteen year old girl who hid with her family and some other Jews from the Nazis in an aprtment in Nazi occupied Amsterdam during World War II. She and her family were unfortunately eventually betrayed, caught and taken to the Nazi concentration camps where everyone but her father was killed. Her diary however survived and was published subsequent to her death. To this day it is one of the most famous documents ever to come out of the holocaust.
Our production stages her story and the story of her family and another family and a third Jewish gentleman who lives in the apartment with them for almost two years before they were captured and killed. Our production is a little unusual in that in addition to telling the story of the Franks and the Van Daans, Mr. Dussell, and the very brave gentiles who hid them and protected for the two years. We are also going to show Amsterdam around the edges of the house where the Frank family hid. You will see other representatives of the European population that the Nazis targeted for extermination represented as well.
It is one of the most tragic facts of European history that the Nazis murdered 6 million Jews. Additionally they murdered 5.5 million other people. Gypsies, Blacks, homosexuals, political dissidents, prostitutes, Catholics, anyone with a disability, anyone the Nazis considered to be “unworthy of life.” Please let me emphasize that that’s in quotation marks. We thought it was important to tell their story as well.
We have a very large cast. 32 people including 14 children who will represent various segments of the population that the Nazis decimated during the 12 years that they had play over Europe.
Mike: Was it difficult finding 32 people to get into the show?
Lauren: Surprisingly no. We were delighted to have a wonderful cast of people who were eager to participate in telling the story to the auditioned. To some degree it was a matter of fitting the role to the actor. The scripts did not specifically call for the people outside of the house so I had a little bit of lee way in terms of who I cast and how.
Mike: How about finding Anne? Was that a difficult thing?
Lauren: Not at all. In fact one of the reasons we chose to do this is that we have an exceptionally talented young actress in Valerie Holt who is playing the role of Anne. Valerie is a Tantallon regular. She’s done several shows with us in the last few years and is very talented, and marvelous casting. In choosing the show we definitely had her in mind for the title role. She’s doing a wonderful job with it.
Mike: Did you work with the Holocaust Museum in DC?
Lauren: We didn’t work with the Holocaust Museum specifically. We did contact both the Anne Frank Center in New York City and the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam to get some help and support with the production. Particularly with help in the selection of music which underlines the show. In picking the music that will play under various scenes both inside and outside the houses. We went to the museums to ask about things that Anne herself had referenced in her diary. We chose a lot of cosmo(?) music and in addition some other pieces that are specifically written to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust so that we have a very diverse, very richly musical backgrounded show as well. We really do want to thank both the Anne Frank Museum and the Anne Fraank Center for all of their help with this.
Mike: How long have you ben involved with Tantallon?
Lauren: I started working with the Tantallon Community Players about five years ago. I showed up to audition for their production of Jekyl and Hyde. At this point I would expect I’ve been in about 12 of their shows. When I’m not in them I tend to support them. I am on the board. I have performed there among other things as the title role of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and as Ella Fitzgerald in The Last Flapper. When this show is over I’ll be playing the title role in Mame.
Mike: And you’re also an understudy for Into The Woods at Signature?
Lauren: I am also understudying for Into The Woods at Signature Theatre which is a special pleasure. A marvelous production, the first one they’ve done in the new space. If you can get tickets go and see it. It’s wonderful.
Mike: When is the Diary of Anne Frank playing?
Lauren: The show will open the last weekend in February. It opens February 23rd and 24th and then the first two weekends in March. The first weekend we have a Friday and Saturday performance at 8 PM. The second two weekends are Friday and Saturdays at 8 PM and Sundays at 2.
Mike: Where at?
Lauren: That’s at the Tantallon Community Players. We are at the Harmony Hall Regional Center in Fort Washington Maryland. You can find more information about our show on our Website: www.tantalloncommunityplayers.org.
Mike: Thank you very much for talking with us.
Lauren: Well, Mike thank you. We appreciate it and I sincerely hope that people will come out to see this. You mentioned earlier that a lot companies do the Diary of Anne Frank. I think that’s because it is such an important story. Just a year ago a leader of a major nation held a conference and argued that the Holocaust never occurred, which of course we know was ridiculous. Even today there’s this argument in Europe about whether or not to make the denial of the Holocaust a crime across Europe. The reason that some people are arguing that it shouldn’t be is because they don’t want the neo-nazis to be treated as martyrs. Frankly I’m horrified by that. I think it’s important that we tell and retell this story so that we as a society never forget the Holocaust and never allow something like that to happen again.
Mike: Well, we wish you all the best with the show.
Lauren: Well, thank you very much. We look forward to seeing you there.
Mike: We’re looking forward to it. Thank you, Lauren.
Lauren: Thanks a lot, Mike.
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/1874.
Laura & Mike Clark started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.