In the last 20 years, I’ve been in a lot of productions--at the Yorkshire Playhouse, York College, and other stages. Often when I invite people to see productions I’m involved with, I get responses like “How fun! I’ll try to make it if I can.” Whether they plan to see the show or not, they claim to have some interest.
Not so with the play I’m currently in, The Diary of Anne Frank.
I keep having the same conversations with friends, colleagues, people at church, and strangers at WalMart. Instead of the polite dissembling, “I’d like to see it, but I may not be able to on those dates…” many have told me outright that they probably don’t want to see this show. A wall goes up as soon as I say the title.
The thing is, this show is going to be amazing. I don’t want you to skip it because of these common misconceptions. So, here are the reasons why you might think you don’t want to see this show--and the reasons why you totally should.
“I’ve seen it before.”
My friend, you may have seen a production with the same title as our show, but let me assure you, you’ve never seen THIS show. The version we are performing is a newly revised script that has been produced recently on Broadway with great reviews. Even if you’ve read Anne’s famous diary, there will be new content in this production, as some of the material is drawn from Anne’s other writings as well as news broadcasts from the period.
Director Mitch Roush is innovative and highly talented. He’s bringing new life to this story through creative staging and the performances he is cultivating from the cast are extraordinary. This will be one of the most impressive productions you have seen on our local stage.
“I already know the ending.”
Did that stop you from seeing Titanic?
Yes, the eventual fate of most of the characters is tragic. But what happens before that--the lives they led for two years of exile in hiding--you probably know less about.
It’s that story that we’re bringing to life. A story full of laughter and sorrow, challenges and opportunities to overcome. It will be worth your time.
“It’s historical, so it’s irrelevant to a modern audience.”
This show is about a persecuted minority group living in a racially polarized country. The characters are political refugees seeking asylum.
If you think this show lacks relevance, you haven’t been paying attention.
“It will be depressing.”
It’s true, this show might make you cry, but I promise you, you will laugh far more. You will connect with these characters--the loving and protective father, the awkward teenagers falling in love for the first time, the cantankerous bachelor who can’t stand the crowded space, the couple with a broken marriage who find their way back to each other. Their joys, jealousies, challenges, and celebrations will remind you of what is important in your own life. You will leave the theatre hugging your loved ones a little tighter and resolving to live more fully. Honestly, I’ve never been part of a more life affirming show.
Have I convinced you? I really hope so. Anne Frank is a show that will stick with you long after you leave the theatre. This production will be well worth your time...and your tissues.
Guest blogger Chrystal Houston will portray Mrs. Van Daan in the upcoming production of The Diary of Anne Frank at the Yorkshire Playhouse, February 7-10 and 15-17. She has performed in many other shows at the Yorkshire, including Moon Over Buffalo, Nunsense, The Taffetas, and A Christmas Story.