MSU’s latest theatre performance delivers a powerful statement
“The Diary of Anne Frank”, written by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett and newly adapted by Wendy Kesselman, is opening in the Ted Paul Theatre on Nov. 2.
The show runs for two weekends and features several talented students in extremely significant roles. You do not want to miss this production.
“The Diary of Anne Frank” takes the audience through the daily lives of eight people hiding from the Nazis in a concealed attic, scared for their lives. They left everything behind, with only two people knowing their location.
They struggle trying to live normal lives in such an abnormal situation, while also needing to be quiet in order to stay safe.
Two long years in this space, and Anne Frank never stops writing. Her voice never stops wanting to be heard.
Dr. Heather Hamilton is directing this play and she had a lot to say about the lives of these characters and how important it is to understand what happened so we can move forward and never make the same mistake again.
“Anne Frank and her family asked America for refuge. They were fleeing murder. They were fleeing genocide,” she said. “They asked our country if they could hide here for a while and we turned them away, and so that beautiful little firecracker of a girl died in the camps and we could have saved her, just by saying ‘yes come in.’”
Hamilton is hoping to make a statement with this production. We are experiencing this as a country now, and she hopes that this will make a difference in how some people view the subject.
Spreading love and caring for one another in times of need is so extremely important, and that can be seen in this incredibly emotional show.
“We cry every night. It’s the research that we’ve done. The reward will be if people remember Anne’s life and death and consider having a more open heart to those children who are looking for it now” she said.
Delanie Wiedrich, who is playing Anne Frank, commented further.
“The other night I cried at the end of the run, and it was because I was angry. I was angry about what had happened to this family,” she said. “This is not a sweet story of hope and resilience. Anne died with her head shaved, naked, terrified and alone… and so did 70 million others.”
The production is emotional but brilliant. The actors have devoted so much time since the cast list went up, studying and learning about the lives of these people. Wiedrich has been studying Anne Frank in order to make it is real as possible.
“I did a lot of research which included reading her diary as well as ‘Anne Frank Remembered’ by Meip Geiss. It would have been easy to play Anne as a sweet little girl, but that is not who she was.
She was passionate and smart and had this incredible fire inside of her,” she said. “On top of it all, she was a young teen! Throughout the process I have found such a deep love for this young woman and that love and admiration has helped with every other struggle I have encountered.”
This show has been extra challenging for the actors. It has come together beautifully, but the subject is difficult. Wiedrich also commented on the challenges she has encountered from the beginning.
“Oh my gosh, there have been a lot of challenges throughout the process. This is my first time taking on a role like this and the first time doing a show in this style,” she said. “I was immediately intimidated by the weight of the situation and role. However, one of the most obvious challenges is that I’m not 13! And as a child I was not like Anne, I was a lot more like Margot. So when portraying someone like Anne, I couldn’t really draw upon personal experiences. I had to really learn about her and try my best to understand her and her spirit.”
Wiedrich ends with, “I also have been surrounded by an incredible cast, director, design team and dramaturg that have made every bump in the road easy to navigate because we all share a deep love for this story and these people. We all have a common goal, to honor the story of seven people who lost their lives and to honor those who did all they could to help them survive.”
The show opens on Thursday, Nov. 2 and closes the following Sunday, Nov. 12.
You can purchase your tickets for any show online at http://www.mnsu.edu/theatre/, over the phone at 507-389-6661, or at the Box Office Monday-Friday from 4-6 p.m. Regular tickets for “The Diary of Anne Frank” sell for $16, discounted for $14, and $11 for current Minnesota State University, Mankato students.
Next up will be the empowering play, “These Shining Lives,” in the Andreas Theatre opening on Nov. 15.