The Diary of Anne Frank
March 21 – May 17, 2008
The story of Anne Frank and her companions has been told through the past half century in over seventy languages by countless schoolteachers and students. Her words have lived on stronger than any published piece of journalism from the Holocaust. There is hardly a person alive who, when asked “who is Anne Frank” couldn’t tell at least part of her story. INTIMAN now presents The Diary of Anne Frank off the page for Seattle’s theater-going audiences.
Wife-and-husband duo Frances Goodrich and Albert Hacket have brought to life classic after classic. Responsible for Seven Brides for Seven Brothers on stage and screen as well as the beloved holiday classic It’s a Wonderful Life, Goodrich and Hacket brought The Diary of Anne Frank to life in 1956 finding themselves with a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award for their work. Three years later, their film adaptation was awarded a Writer’s Guild of America Award. Their adaptation of Anne Frank’s diary is, without a doubt, a powerfully moving piece of historical theater. If there is any question of the degree of torment that the Franks and their friends underwent during the Holocaust, it is vehemently dispelled during the course of this play.
Sari Ketter’s direction of The Diary of Anne Frank is masterful to say the least. Granted an abundance of impressively skilled actors and designers, Ketter utilizes every resource at her fingertips and works them all together like a chef with every desired ingredient in perfect proportion. The balance of technical elements with natural skill on stage is a testament to her impressive power as a director. Similarly, the mixed levels of intensity from the performers themselves adds a variety to the show that keeps the audience hooked and keeps the almost three-hour show from feeling nearly as long.
Lucy DeVito’s work as Anne Frank is incredible. Her work in not only carrying the role of narrator and story-teller, but her skill at subtly changing her age from thirteen to fifteen is so natural that one could easily lose oneself in her performance. Similarly, Shellie Shulkin’s (Mrs. Van Daan) deterioration of her mental stability throughout the course of the show is a show in itself. Her physical work and her expression of the character’s emotional state are astounding. Additionally, the chemistry of every performer with every other character is completely natural. Connor Toms’ (Peter Van Daan) connection with DeVito stands out as their youthful story blossoms.
Surrounding all of this, the set (Nayna Ramey), lights (Marcus Dillard), costumes (Frances Kenny) and sound designs (Chris R. Walker) create a world for the audience to fully dive into. The use of each element to tell the story is subtle yet strong at every moment and never detracts from the story being told.
As an added bonus, Peter Metzelaar, a speaker from the Washington State Holocaust Education Resource Center, will be speaking after the 2pm matinee on Sunday, April 6th. This talk will be free and open to the public. If you’d like to attend only the talk, INTIMAN asks that you arrive at 4:30 to the theater.
However, if you don’t already have tickets booked for this show, acquire them soon. It is truly a brilliant telling of the story of Anne Frank and her struggle and perseverance.
Review by Nigel Andrews (with help from Lia Morgan)