Before the play began, director Jillian Kelley invited the entire cast to take stage like an earth-tone chorus line in the Avon Theatre and, one by one, share some sort of personal remembrance or link to The Diary of Anne Frank. Like the scenes that would follow, the anecdotes elicited laughter, tears, reflection and quiet understanding.
And so in the same vein as “More than Just a Play” and singular testimonies, it seems entirely inappropriate to offer a critique of a production that has, as its basis, the very intimate diary of a young girl who would never fully blossom into womanhood.
I also had a very strong hope that no applause would greet the last words and gesture by Anne’s father at journey’s end. It would have been such an incredible, collective moment if we had all quietly streamed out silently into the 21st century, deep in our own thoughts about the human race of which, apparently, we are all members—no matter what else we may or may not believe in.
Suffice it to say that for just over two hours the very best—but far overshadowed by the very worst—of this gift called life that we all have for a time was honestly depicted in the telling, yet majority of situations that compelled Anne to take pen to paper conjured up disgust, rage, anger and shame for any thinking person in the capacity crowd.
Given that Nazis, Jews, Gentiles, Muslims, Buddhists, Agnostics, Atheists, et cetera, et cetera are fundamentally all cut from the same initial cloth, how on Earth can some of us treat others so cruelly? (And more often than not, in the name of a higher being.)
If everyone on the planet sat down and truly experienced Anne’s recollection of this particular hell on earth (sadly, there are countless others), why couldn’t we all share the spice cake rather than be determined to prove just why I am so much better than you?
Merci mille fois to all of those responsible for shedding present light on past travesties. JWR