by Allison White
Anne Frank’s story is one of hope and tragedy. Through the dramatization of her diary, the audience gets a small glimpse into the life of a Jewish teenager living in hiding during the turmoil of World War II in the Netherlands. Cedarville’s production of “The Diary of Anne Frank” moved the audience to feel as this young girl felt.
This slow-moving drama left the audience feeling the mundane days passing as they did for Anne and her family. The technical crew immersed the crowd in this feeling by the use of light and sound. The soundtrack set a somber tone and allowed the audience to internalize the pain and boredom these victims felt.
Possibly the most impressive part of the play was the set design. Cedarville’s own students created a phenomenal set full of drab colors that set the tone for the play. The stage offers the first impression of the play for the audience and continues to portray the safe prison the Frank and Van Dann families lived in for two years.
The talent of the actors and actresses showed through their ability to continue acting even when they were not the focus of the scene. Many of the more peripheral characters spent the majority of the play acting as if they were going about normal life, even if they were not a part of the main action.
The actors in particular who did this incredibly well were Christine Nietert, playing Margot Frank, as well as Remy Patterson acting as Mr. Dussel. They may not have had many lines, but their talent showed through in the times that they were not the center of attention.
All the actors in “The Diary of Anne Frank” worked incredibly hard, and it showed in the emotional transfer from actors to audience. Gabrielle Bauman, who portrayed Anne Frank herself, captured the adolescence and joy of Anne in the rawest form. The innocence and bravery of the character was well understood and the audience left feeling hopeful. It felt as if the character really grew up throughout the two years depicted in the play, yet never lost her fiery personality.
Peter Van Dann, played by William Douglas, was yet another teenager living in fear with the Frank family and his own parents. Douglas gave Peter an awkward, teenage personality that had the audience laughing and loving him.
Initially Andrew Standley, as Mr. Frank, moved the audience with his depth of emotion and realistic relationship with his teenage daughter. As that relationship grew throughout the play, the audience came to love his patience with his daughter and his quiet bravery.
The play contained many moving scenes. The show wraps the audience in the emotions of the characters, among those we experienced anger, irritation, fear, and tremendous joy.
The mark of this drama is the quality of hope. Anne taught us to never give up hope, to always believe God will provide, and to never change who you are. Overall, it was heartwarming, but even more so, heartbreaking.
Although a diary is meant to contain the inner feelings and desperate secrets of a person, Anne’s instead keeps her spirit and her story living. We can all learn from her story of faith and hope. We may never be in Anne’s position, but the struggle of her family causes us to reflect on the mercies and gifts of life. The talent of the actors and technicians set this play apart, but the legacy of Anne Frank is truly what makes this play special.
“The Diary of Anne Frank” will run through Oct. 15 in the DeVries Theater, and tickets can be purchased at www.cedarville.edu/ticketinfo.
Allison is a junior organizational communication major and arts and entertainment writer for Cedars. She enjoys learning about cultures, traveling, and petting as many dogs as she can.