When I write, I shake off all my cares. But, here’s a big question: will I ever be able to write something great?
This question, which I have often asked myself, becomes unbearably poignant when posed by a girl whose writing found international fame under the most tragic of circumstances.
Anne Frank’s diary, which charts the author’s hopes, frustrations and day-to-day life while hidden from the Nazis in a secret annex in Amsterdam from 1942 to 1944, continues to move readers the world over. And now, marking the 60th anniversary of its publication in English, an enthralling Pulitzer-winning play re-opens Anne’s diary live on stage.
Director Nikolai Foster is strong on both visual and verbal statement. By cramming the beds impossibly close together, and making sure all the actors were on stage at all times, the suffocating conditions of the attic that hid 8 people for 2 years, become disturbingly real. And narration is lifted direct from the Anne’s pages, so we see this chilling world through her 13 year old eyes.
Perhaps most strikingly, this adaptation explores details originally held back by Anne’s father, Otto, when the diary was published in English. So, we get a fascinating glimpse of Anne’s sexual awakening, as she experiences both desires and frustrations and begins to yearn for her attic companion, Peter van Daan (Robert Glass).
Of course, we all know how this story ends, just as we do when we watch Romeo and Juliet. Yet, thanks to York Theatre Royal’s sensitive and original handling of this well-worn tragedy, the play’s final scenes are so shocking, it’s as if you are discovering Anne’s fate for the first time. Ultimately, this play reminds us that, unlike Juliet’s, Anne’s story is true.
Amy Hopkins (DI Reviewer), 23/05/12
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l-r Victoria Ross (Margot), Amy Dawson (Anne), Christopher Timothy (Otto) and Kerry Peers (Edith Frank)
Photos by Nobby Clark
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