In THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK, Anne emerges from history a living, lyrical, intensely gifted young girl, who confronts her rapidly changing life and the increasing horror of her time with astonishing honesty, wit, and determination. An impassioned drama about the lives of eight people hiding from the Nazis in a concealed storage attic,
It captures the claustrophobic realities of their daily existence—their fear, their hope, their laughter, their grief. Each day of these two dark years, Anne’s voice shines through: “When I write I shake off all my cares. But I want to achieve more than that. I want to be useful and bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death!” This is a new adaptation for a new generation. Directed and Produced by Felicia Pfluger. Adapted for Stage by Wendy Kesselman.
Gallery of Images from the show
Notes from the Playwright/Director
Anne Frank’s story, at its core, is about a normal teenager trying to understand and define her place in an ever-changing world. We hear her developing her own voice in her diary as she searches for autonomy. She is human. She teases a boy… and later develops a crush on him. She fights PTSD and traumatic nightmares. She is a Daddy’s girl. She worries about her friends and is processing her body changing. She gets angsty for absolutely no reason toward her mother. She is a prankster and loves to laugh. She desperately seeks validation and yearns to make a difference in this world. She is unfiltered, sublimely candid, and quite human.
The Annex family are perfectly imperfect people with their own personalities. They are fun and amusing, with their own strengths and Achilles heels. They attempt to create normalcy and dignity in the claustrophobic, pressure cooker of living together in hiding… and just when things couldn’t get more stressful, they selflessly take in a quirky dentist to save his life. And somehow, they unite as a family.
The fact that this true story happened when the family are fighting for their lives ~ as Jews are being exterminated in Nazi occupied Amsterdam, adds an intense layer to the story… These nine voices reach out to us vibrantly, yet hauntingly from the past. Ever so quickly, we feel like they are our friends. Yet these bright voices are but a few in the sea of six million Jews and eleven million total individuals whose voices were silenced so horribly.
I am humbled that I have been able to produce and direct Anne Frank. It shares history, life, resilience, and so many heartwarming moments… The teens have crafted rich and beautiful characters that pay homage to their real-life counterparts, and attack head-on the issues of hatred that resonate deeply still today.
The tale is jarringly relatable. Though in America we are not facing genocide, we are facing terror attacks, mass shootings (particularly at schools), and a record amount of abductions.
Last year, at one of our rehearsals, three students from three different schools, tearfully shared that they all had been in separate lock-downs, afraid for their lives on a single day. Bullying, and hate speech are mainstream. As a Nation, we seem more polarized than ever. The echoes of the past still resound. Yet, there is hope for us, together. We can find serenity and strength in not giving into a culture of fear and hatred. We can unite in our humanity to find hope amidst adversity. Against hatred. We can create a climate of contagious kindness and give each other the benefit of the doubt… and heal together.
Scattered throughout the playbill, you will find letters from different social justice groups and world religions with a similar hope. You can add your voice to peace. We hope that you will leave inspired to make a difference as well.
Together we can establish a climate of peace amidst adversity that is desperately needed. As a student once said to me, “Many hands make light work”. To quote Ghandi, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” And to quote Anne, “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
~ Felicia Pfluger, Producer and Artistic Director, LATTE Theater
In the News
“Undeniably moving. It shatters the heart. The evening never lets us forget the inhuman darkness waiting to claim its incandescently human heroine.” —The New York Times.
“An extraordinary theatrical adventure! Go and remember.” —The New York Post.
“…new DIARY is chillingly honest about the Holocaust. Wendy Kesselman’s work has restored the terror.” —The New York Daily News.
“Wendy Kesselman’s finely textured new DIARY tells a deeper story. A sensitive, stirring and thoroughly engaging new adaptation.” —New York Newsday.
“A powerful new version that moves the audience to gasp, then tears.” —Associated Press.
“One of the year’s ten best.” —Time Magazine.
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