‘The Diary of Anne Frank’

Actors in Theatre of Gadsden’s production of ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ include  from left: Adrianna Nix, Krista Bischoff, Pati Tiller and McKenna Hodge as Anne.

Submitted photos

Absorbing, moving and, finally, inspiring. If ever a drama could claim these attributes it would be “The Diary of Anne Frank,” the next production by Theatre of Gadsden at the Ritz Theatre in Alabama City.

In the play, the audience enters the world of two families: the Franks and the van Daans. Both families are hiding in tiny rooms in the secret annex of an old office building for two years while the Nazis are occupying Holland.

Anne’s diary tells of her experiences, touching and sometimes amusing, during these two years’ confinement in cramped quarters as the adults and young people faced hunger and fear. There was the everyday threat of being found by the Gestapo, yet Anne’s story is one of a very courageous and gifted 13-year-old girl whose life was cut tragically short.

Theaters will probably always have a place for this drama, for several reasons. “There is still hate, prejudice and discrimination in the world,” said Mike Beecham, the production’s director. “This play is our way of saying that we won’t stand for another Holocaust.”  

The play is based upon the book “Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl.” It was dramatized by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett.

Actors from Calhoun County can be seen in the drama:

• Adrianna Nix as Margot Frank, Anne’s sister. Nix is a student at Jacksonville High School.

• Krista Bischoff as Miep, who helps hide the Franks and other families, bringing them supplies. She is a graduate of Jacksonville State University.

• Pati Tiller as Edith Frank, Anne’s mother. She is the motherly caretaker and host for all the dwellers. Tiller works for ARC of Calhoun County.

• Steve Lasseter as a Nazi soldier. Lasseter is a JSU graduate.

Kimberly Patton of Weaver, a JSU graduate, is assistant director, and Connie Ables, also a JSU graduate, is costumer.

From Etowah County, McKenna Hodge plays Anne Frank. She is in the eighth grade at Rainbow Middle School.

The drama opens Friday and continues through Oct. 1. Tickets are $17 for adults, $15 for seniors and military and $5 for students. There is a $3 discount for groups of 10 or more.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. Buying online will save you from waiting in line in the theater lobby. Visit www.theatreofgadsden.org. For student tickets, use the code “annex.”

Holocaust survivor speaks of Anne Frank

Trinity Broadcast System aired a series of episodes on “Why Israel Matters” in February that included a segment on “Survivors.”

In it, Hannah Goslar, a Holocaust survivor and Anne Frank’s best friend, told more of Anne as she knew her from childhood, as well as the background setting of when Frank’s family fled their home to escape from the Nazi persecution of the Jews. They were discovered and captured in 1944.

The two friends were able to speak together — across a barbed wire fence — while Anne was in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany. At the time, Anne’s father, Otto, had survived but, sadly, Anne did not know it. The rest of her family had died.

“Anne loved music and writing,” Goslar said. “She always carried a notebook. She loved telling stories.”

‘Bear Country’ at Alabama Shakespeare Festival

The new season at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival in Montgomery includes three plays on themes that are familiar to audiences here.

“Bear Country,” centering on the legendary Paul Bear Bryant, features Anniston native Rodney Clark in the title role. The Bear reminisces about the career that launched him as a football icon. It has a limited run of March 9-25 to celebrate the theme of the Alabama Bicentennial, “Honoring Our People.”

Before that, “Fly” will be presented Jan. 26-Feb. 11. It depicts the Tuskegee Airmen’s contributions towards desegregation of the American military.

There is an interesting adaptation of “Snow Queen” for children Jan. 6-Feb. 11. It is from the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale about Gerda as she struggles to free her friend Kai from the control of an evil queen with a frozen heart.

“Star Struck,” July 20-Aug. 5 is about a struggling Jewish family that escapes reality with dreams of Hollywood and romance. Developed through the Southern Writers’ Project.

For ticket information, call 800-841-4273 or visit asf.net.

Hervey Folsom writes about the local arts scene every Sunday. Contact her at herveyfolsom@yahoo.com.