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Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Washington-Lee High School The Diary of Anne Frank

By • Nov 19th, 2007 • Category: Cappies

The world’s most read diary, The Diary of Anne Frank, is the story of a young girl forced into hiding. She and seven others are holed up in a secret annex that is to conceal them until the worst genocide in human history, the Holocaust, is over. This heart-wrenching diary was dramatized in a Tony award-winning Best Play, by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett. Performed by Washington-Lee High School, the production of The Diary of Anne Frank is done with strong confidence.

The play begins with a foretold ending. Mr. Frank (Ahmad Helmy) returns to the annex after the war, accompanied only by Miep (Kirstin Smith). Miep encourages him to look at Anne’s (Morgan Sendek) diary. The play takes a flashback to the very beginning pages of the diary, where the Franks and the Van Daans unite in the annex. As time progresses it is clearly shown how miserable these families are. The bickering between Mr. and Mrs. Van Daan (Nathaniel Neil Kresh and Mary Eccles) has increased, the tension between Anne and her mother Mrs. Frank (Lauren Gradowski) has become damaging. And a relationship between the son of the Van Daans, Peter (Caleb Wroblewski), and Anne has flourished. Times have been getting worse for the people of the annex paralleling how the world outside is getting more disastrous also.

Washington-Lee High School’s production was anchored by the cast’s ability to create a believable tragic surrounding. The small 10 person cast all contributed to bringing us back to 1940’s Netherlands, where all was in chaos. Although it was confusing and sometimes difficult to tell exactly which year and month we were in, it gave a decent effect to the show that the residents had lost track of time as well.

Capturing the random outbursts as well as the adolescent 13 year old drama queen, Morgan Sendek played Anne with much versatility. Her performance was key in creating a personal empathetic connection with the audience. Mr. Frank (Helmy) portrayed his mature character with great power, grasping the audience’s attention every time he spoke.

The Residents gave a decent performance. At times it seemed that they over exaggerated instead of acted. The development of these characters was slow, but nevertheless they developed. The chemistry was very high and it was obvious they were a close cast working off each other.

The technical aspects of the show played their own special role in the show. The voice over of Anne reading her diary entries during transitions was quite clever and helped you ignore the sound of the creaky set.

Washington-Lee gave a strong performance: everyone worked well as a unit to share with us such a desperate story of hardship, death, and injustice. Yet with such a story, “in spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart.”

by Laura Razzuri of Wakefield High

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