Students to bring to stage 'Diary of Anne Frank'

January 13, 1994|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,Contributing Writer

Some of the actors are already older than Anne Frank was when she died in a Nazi concentration camp.

Some 50 years later, the Liberty High School Drama Club will present "The Diary of Anne Frank" at 7:30 p.m. today, tomorrow and Saturday in the school auditorium.

The play tells the true story of Anne Frank, a young Jewish girl who was driven into hiding with her family and others in Nazi-occupied Holland during World War II. The play is based on the diary she kept that chronicled her 2 1/2 -year experience before the group was captured. She was 16 when she died in a Nazi concentration camp.

Dealing with such serious subject matter has brought the cast and crew together.

"I think because it's a smaller cast, we're a lot closer than [casts of] other productions," said Emily Mudgett, who plays Miep, the Christian woman who hides the Franks. Emily, 17, a senior, has been in five previous productions.

Teachers Kathy Schnorr and Cathy James, assisted by student Agnes Mattegunta, are directing the drama. Ms. Schnorr said everyone involved in the production was enthusiastic.

"We gave the students suggestions and they picked the play," she said.

Performing in such an emotional production can be difficult.

"I think it's a good play, but it's incredibly depressing," said Matt Burkhart, the 17-year-old senior who plays Mr. Van Daan. "But it's important for people to see the true story of the Holocaust."

Kathy Schuman, who plays Mrs. Frank, agrees. She is a 15-year-old sophomore and the only member of the cast who is Jewish. She has donated authentic items for the production, including her cat, Mishigos, who plays Mouschi, the cat in the play.

"I've been like the Jewish adviser," she said. "I feel like I'm educating people. It's time that people learn that Jews exist even today."

"It's been neat learning about all the Jewish customs from Kathy," said sophomore Monica Johansen, 15, who plays Anne. "This is my first year here, so I've met a lot of people [through the play]."

Like Anne, Monica also has lived in Europe. She moved to Carroll County last year from Italy, where she lived with her family on an Army base.

The students have been striving for authenticity. Costume people Jessica Katz, 17, and Katie Mangle, 16, did research to ensure that the outfits the actors wear in the play are similar to the clothing worn in the 1940s.

Drama Club President Rachael Bradley, 17, is proud of the production.

"I think that everyone is coming together really well," she said. "It's a really great play. It's the kind of play that touches people's hearts."

Liberty High is at 5855 Bartholow Road, Eldersburg. Admission to the play is $3.

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