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USF’s ‘Diary of Anne Frank’ a moving story of hope
by Lisa Boshell
Sep 29, 2010 | 575 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mariko Nakasone as Anne Frank in the Utah Shakespearean Festival’s 2010 production of “The Diary of Anne Frank.”
Mariko Nakasone as Anne Frank in the Utah Shakespearean Festival’s 2010 production of “The Diary of Anne Frank.”
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CEDAR CITY – The Utah Shakespearean Festival’s production of “The Diary of Anne Frank” is a reminder of the power of love, hope and courage that can endure and blossom through the darkest of times.

“The Diary of Anne Frank” is one of the three plays included in the USF’s fall season, which will run through Oct. 23.

Well known throughout the world, “The Diary of Anne Frank” is adapted directly from the pages of a young Jewish girl’s diary during WWII in Holland.

Anne Frank, played by Mariko Nakasone, and her family, her father Otto, her mother Edith and sister Margot, played by Tim Casto, Corliss Preston and Rebecca Prescott, respectively, were forced into hiding to protect themselves from the Nazis, living above Otto’s office with the van Daan family of three and Mr. Dussell.

Frank recorded their ordeal in her personal diary. Along with recording the struggles of living in hiding and the fear of being found, Frank wrote of the day-to-day teenage worries that are universally understood – love, puberty, family arguments and personal identity, to name a few.

The USF’s production of the play, adapted by Wendy Kesslman, interprets Frank’s words and fully articulates the hope and strength one teenage girl was able to gain while fearing for her life and the lives of her family members.

“(It) is a testament not to the brutality of war and hatred, but to the unshakable spirit of a young girl and to the hopes and loves of a family and a people trying to hold on to their faith,” a USF press release reported.

“This is an incredibly moving play that reflects a very dark period of time in the world,” USF Executive Director R. Scott Phillips said. “This play should be seen by audience members of all ages.”

As the play suggests, all we have left of the Frank’s story are the words of Anne’s diary, and perhaps she sums up her spirited understanding of humanity when she states, “in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

Following the opening performance of “The Diary of Anne Frank” last Thursday, St. George resident Hank Ombach discussed his experience as a child whose family hid a Jewish family in their Amsterdam home.

Ombach’s parents, who he believes may have been part of the underground, hid a family of three in a hiding place in the attic above a closet in their apartment.

The Jewish family was never found by Nazis and Ombach has remained friends with the family.

“It was a deep secret,” Ombach said.

He never knew of any other families in Amsterdam that were hiding Jewish families.

The USF will also welcome Rabbi Shmuley Boteach following two performances of “The Diary of Anne Frank” Oct. 5 and 6. Boteach, a noted religious leader in America, will lead a discussion of the play and its significance and resonance with today’s audiences, according to the USF’s website.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.bard.org or call 586-7878.

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