Publication: October 1, 1998, by Dramatists Play Service
Genre: Non-Fiction, Historical, Plays
In this transcendently powerful new adaptation by Wendy Kesselman, Anne Frank emerges from history a living, lyrical, intensely gifted young girl, who confronts her rapidly changing life and the increasing horror of her time with astonishing honesty, wit and determination. An impassioned drama about the lives of eight people hiding from the Nazis in a concealed storage attic, THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK captures the claustrophobic realities of their daily existence their fear, their hope, their laughter, their grief. Each day of these two dark years, Anne's voice shines through: "When I write I shake off all my cares. But I want to achieve more than that. I want to be useful and bring enjoyment to all people, even those I've never met. I want to go on living even after my death." This is a new adaptation for a new generation.
Let's play a wondrous game of 'Never Have I Ever.' Of course, you've all heard of this game in those cute, cheeky contemporary novels... but many few have played it. Here's a first for me, too. But my main point here is: Never have I ever read a play before. Stepping into a new kind of writing format and learning the basics of the great scripts, The Diary of Anne Frank brought back memories of when I actually read Anne's diary back in the day, and it gave me a whole new experience to love and devour for ages to come.
So here's the thing: I have an obsession with Anne's diary. Since I was young and once decided that I might write a speech on the inspirational young girl herself, I've read her diary and researched all about her, continuously. When's Anne's birthday? June 12. And trust me, I did not search that up. *winks* Until reaching the smitten age of 14, I actually had not known that there was an amazing playwright of her story, and that I'll be getting the chance to read it in Grade 9. This was a true memorable experience for me, from start to finish.
"We don't need the Nazis to destroy us. We're destroying ourselves."
All I feel like doing right now, right here, is banging my head on my desk repeatedly and sob. I wish that I could sob for a whole eternity. I feel that with a play like this, readers are more prone to understand Ms. Frank's story even better, and in the end, the actual ending may not be exactly correct when looking at the way her life ended in reality, but you feel everything. The emotions are present, the feels, and throughout the whole two Acts, I felt that I was actually imaging the wonderful real personalities playing these roles. It hadn't been a play all along for me, there were moments when this was realer than ever, and since there was dialogue between the people Anne spent years with in annexation, I have gotten to know their personalities much better than I ever would have if I just reread her diary over and over again for fifteen times. There's a true difference, my friends.
For those of you crazy weirdos who don't know Anne's story at all, you must be living under a rock or a shoe and have no access to wonderful books and history novels. But since I'm that much of a nice person, then I'll surely give you a mini-recap, so you can continue to read this review and get what I'm saying. *grins widely* Anne Frank was just a normal girl living in Holland when her life turned upside down... just because she was a Jew. Anne's father, Otto Frank, was a hero to his family, and his decision to bring the Franks into annexation and hiding in a dusty attic hiding spot on top of a warehouse saved their lives... at least for a couple of years. Anne and her family went into hiding in 1942, and the Van Daan family also joined them with a surprise visitor afterwards. All of these people's traditions and ways of living were disrupted to the highest extent, and they spent their days without a peep and no talking or heading to the washroom. It was all about fear, and if the slightest noise was heard, someone ought to find out.
I just can't even explain to you how much this play and Anne's story means to me. Yes, it's completely tragic and worrisome for readers, but the fact that Anne and her crush-afterwards Peter Van Daan were just two normal teenagers crushed me even more. I bet that if Anne was put into our modern day society just the way she was, she'd be normal. No one would suspect that she's a historical figure who died in the 1940s because of the Second World War. No one would suspect that she spent years in hiding or that she went into a concentration camp. And this is the aspect that makes this the most memorable: amazing playwrights brought her legacy and story back to life once more. I've never heard of this play actually turning into a production on stage and everything (like Broadway), but just having readers given the chance to see a reenactment of this all brings tears into my heart.
"I only know it's funny never to be able to go outdoors... never to breathe fresh air... never to run and shout and jump. It's the silence in the night that frightens me most. Every time I hear a creak in the house, or a step on the street outside, I'm sure they're coming for us. The days aren't so bad. At least we know that Miep and Mr. Kraler are down there below us in the office. Our protectors we call them."
What the playwright had done perfectly was making sure that the facts weren't 100% correct. This is Anne's story to tell, and as we can tell, she didn't write this play, so they couldn't make sure that everything was left open as her story was and still is today. The ending of the whole play was different than to what actually had happened. In reality, nobody knows who told that the Franks were hiding there. In the play, it was the thief who wandered in the office building and blackmailed Mr. Kraler. The play and the audience had to be left leaving the play with answers. Some are still not complete, but at least you can say that you've seen/read the play and understand it all. And that makes the fixture of the plot perfect.
Since I had to read this for school, I read both Acts at separate times. But in a matter of a week, I had the play done, and all of the discussion questions that we had to answer on this were done and scribbled on to with loads of thoughts that got me thinking. I'm telling you, this review wouldn't even be half as long if I didn't have the discussion questions to answer. They really got me thinking, thinking about the characters, the development, the ending, and everything in between.
Anne... Well that was a perfect example of her. The diary scenes, her attitude and personality, everything, all of the aspects gotten readers to understand and know her better. It's obvious and easy to tell that there was a lot of research put into writing this play so the writers could get Anne on the dot and know her in and out. Her character just made me realize how young she really was, and all of those playful moments that she shared with her parents, Peter or with Mr. Dussel just shattered me because at the moment when she was taken away by the Germans, it was easy to tell that the world had just lost a great soul. She was optimistic, and she always felt that she would have a great future and would become someone big, but she never thought that something like this would happen to her. Her fame is a legacy, my friends.
Some people have argued with me over the romance of Anne and Peter, and I have to tell you that it was adorable, but puppy-love at the same time. I don't care about the difference in ages of them, which was about 3 years. The audience can tell that throughout the play, Anne was seeking for a person to talk to and understand. Margot, her older sister, was completely out of the picture, and I can only wish that her character was brought out more. Thankfully, her mother and father's crazy but funny moments were constantly brought up and we got to know who Anne really came from strongly.
Looking at my liking of this dramatized story in an overall matter, I can tell you that I am able to go on forever with how much I enjoyed this. Although this was only 'based' on the real thing, it was done perfectly and it didn't go too far or not hit the exact point of the book. The message was so deep and it made me smile and break out into a sad face continuously, but the most important thing that I saw was that the writing and the descriptions were set to the exact point. And it did. *smiles* This was everything I could ask for and more, and I recommend this TO YOU, whether you've read Anne's diary or not, or even if you haven't heard of my inspiration, her. Just walk into reading this play with a huge smile, because you'll be left quivering and slowly dying of sadness and pathos inside.