March 28 – Anne Frank

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I don’t have much to comment on with my own acting stuff because I am on break from classes for another week or so. And the rest of my life isn’t particularly interesting, so there is no point in boring the three people who read this blog with that.

Instead I will talk about the play I saw last night, The Diary of Anne Frank at the Intiman Theatre. Now I have to say I wouldn’t have normally gone to see this play. I read the book in high school; I know how the story ends, and it’s a bit of a downer.

Still I decided to go see it because it had one of my acting instructors in it. The incredible Amy Thone, who was playing Mrs. Frank. I actually haven’t seen most of my teachers perform. I am sort of going on faith that they actually know what they are doing. As it turned out, Amy confirmed my suspicions that she does indeed know what she is doing.

The play deals with the period of two years of hiding that the Franks and the other people (whose names I can’t remember right at the moment) did from the Nazi’s during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Basically the story of eight people stuck in a tiny space for two years under the threat of imminent death if they were discovered.

When I told people I was going to see the play, they all asked me if I knew that Anne Frank was played by Lucy DeVito, Danny DeVito’s daughter. Actually no I didn’t, at least until they told me. Now often when one hears that the offspring of famous actors are giving acting a go, there is some hesitation felt, maybe a little eye rolling. Oh, did Daddy/Mommy get them this job? Are they going to be any good? Did the theatre decide they needed a name and this is what they could get? Etc.

So I was very happy to find that Lucy DeVito blows those stereotypes out of the water. She can act, and act good. She must be in her twenties, but she was very believable as a 14 year old girl. Some of this is the fact that she is short (she does take after her dad in that respect), but mostly it was the energy she radiated and the physicality with which she moved.

The play actually had a lot of laughs in it, which was a relief. Though I read the book in high school I don’t remember the details, just that they hid, they got found out, then they were sent of to concentration camps, and ended up dead. Still I found my self tearing up at various points, and definitely got some tears at the end.

I don’t know if the performances were that good, I mean, they were good, but were they that good? Or was it the associated reality that this actually happened, and the realization of the horror that these people went through for all those years, and then to know they, with the exception of Anne Frank’s father, didn’t make it.

In either, or both cases, when the house lights went up there were quite a few people wiping their eyes and sniffling. It is probably the most moving theatre I’ve seen in a long time. Not that I go to the theatre that much (I am trying to go more), but there you go.

Watching Amy Thone was interesting as well. At first I saw her and not Mrs. Frank, and I am sure this is because I know her and I was waiting for her to blow me away. She did win the Stranger Genius Award after all. But she played Mrs. Frank quietly and reservedly as Mrs. Frank allegedly was, and by the end had morphed from my acting teacher into Mrs. Frank.

I’d say if you have the opportunity to go see it before it ends, do so. It’s a good show mixed with smatterings of hope, humor, and laughter. Still, if you are an easy crier like myself, I recommend a few tissues tucked in the coat pocket.

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