June 12, 2021

The Editor Speaks: Anne Frank’s Diary is a wake up call

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I was with other media writers and invited teenage school pupils last Tuesday (4) to watch the dress rehearsal of the newly adapted Wendy Kesselman stage play, “The Diary of Anne Frank”. Originally written by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, Kesselman’s version portrays Anne as she really was – a young woman capable of being petty and self-absorbed. There is no glossing over of of the final, real-life pain, Anne bore.

Yes, Anne Frank is recognizable as a real-life girl — a remarkable, brilliant girl, for sure, but also a young woman capable of being petty and self-absorbed. We see her complaining about her mother, even hating her.

Anne was a Jew and this new version emphasises it. The play didn’t make me “feel good’ at all. It brought home the horror that Anne, at such a young age, had to endure. A horror that other young persons are facing every day in the war torn countries of the world, and when they try to escape with their families, they too face the reality that the majority of the rest of the world doesn’t care, doesn’t want them, tear them apart from their mother and father, their brothers and sisters, and even despise and hate them.

The holocaust never happened is a familiar cry today. And if it did, so what?

With the media whipping up the divisions between the black and white societies, the divisions between the religious groups, the gay community v. the rest of us, and so on, the world needs a wake up call unparalleled in its history.

The story of Anne Frank is that wake up call.

The white bashing from the left, blaming it for every single devious deed in history, and burning and removing statues that were a reminder of history – the good and the bad.

President Donald J. Trump drew national criticism from across the political spectrum for not directly denouncing white supremacist organizations; instead choosing to condemn “this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides — on many sides”.

I hate to admit it – he actually was right.

The most famous line in the Anne Frank play is, “I still believe, that people are good at heart”, But just as she says it, you hear a Nazi voice piercing the air!

Over the years the story of Anne Frank’s Diary has become romanticised.

If any one of you go to the prospect Playhouse, expecting that, and coming away with a lovely, cozy, warm feeling in your heart, you are in for a shock.

I, along with my wife, Joan, had teary eyes at the end of Act One and sat in our seats horrified at the end of Act Two. Unashamed, we left the Theatre, tears flowing. Joan said nothing but waited for me outside. I apologised that I couldn’t interview any more of the wonderful actors but told everyone this was one, if not the finest piece of theatre, I have ever seen at The Prospect Playhouse, or The Harquail Theatre. I have been present at both venues from the first day they opened their doors, and that includes The Harquail Workshop Theatre!

Please see also the critique of the CDS production by my alter ego, Georgina Wilcox. Some of you might remember her from a CDS production called “Beauty For Sale”. She was NOT the beauty and we couldn’t sell her, either……

Occasionally she writes here after a wake up call, or two.

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