Fall play: The Diary of Anne Frank

This fall, students will have the opportunity to see Barrington High School’s production of The Diary of Anne Frank. The play will be performed from November 7-9. Featuring a cast of twelve, The Diary of Anne Frank is a stage play adaptation of the famous memoir. Dominique Duval, the student director, weighs in on the impact of this production. 

“It deals with a lot of different issues, whether it be growing up as a teenager or being oppressed, or being put into the state that society rejects you. I think with this diary, it’s a very good representation because it’s based on true events,” Duval said. “We want our actors to fully immerse themselves because it’s a very serious piece. It’s not something we want to give 50% on, we have to be 100% on with everything.”

In order to accurately portray the characters as well as the historical circumstances, the cast is conducting research to fully understand the impact of the Holocaust and make informed character choices. 

“Every actor has researched their individual character on their own, but additionally we’ve watched several documentaries, [and] we have the 50th anniversary TIME Magazine that is Anne Frank’s feature, so we went through that,” Fall Play and Musical director Paula Nowak said.  “On October 22nd, we’re taking a field trip to the Skoki Holocaust Museum. I have a speaker who is coming in to talk about the historical impact of the Holocaust. Essentially, we’re using history as a basis to make the character choices we need to make.”

Amy Jessup-Tilford, the technical director and co-sponsor of the Drama Club, and her technical team also conducted extensive research, and have pulled real historical images and videos to add depth to the production. 

“We’re doing a lot of video work, video integration, that will bring in some of what is going on outside of the house. It’s actual historical images and footage. My technicians have been doing a lot of extensive research on what was going on, and they’ve put a pictorial review together,” Jessup-Tilford said. “There’s a Hitler speech that we’re supposed to hear, and we’re pulling in actual footage so we can get some of those very scary and real feelings that were happening.”

Because The Diary of Anne Frank has such historical importance, the cast and crew are careful to portray the story realistically and accurately. For example, there is a scene where the characters sing a Hebrew song. Duval is aware of the seriousness of the piece. 

“We were learning how to properly enunciate everything. We are lucky enough that Ms. Nowak is of Jewish descent and she is teaching us Hebrew. There is a portion of the play where the family sings a Hebrew song during Hanukkah, and we want our actors to say the Hebrew correctly. We don’t want anything to be screwed up,” Duval said. 

Nowak hopes the audience will feel the significance of Anne Frank’s story, and that the production will express the importance of kindness and humanity. 

“This story is a very human story that exists in an absolute inhumane historical period of time. Even though all of these horrible things are happening outside of the annex, inside the annex there is still life and breathe and excitement, as well as pain and sadness,” Nowak said. “My hope is that people take away the idea that you can stay positive, but also to understand that we cannot be complicit about an event like this happening again. Hopefully, Anne’s voices tell us not to be complicit. We are all human, and that should be our driving connector.”