Niles West Theatre Presents: Diary Of Anne Frank

All inhabitants of the Annex are crowded on the kitchen table as Anne delivers her final monologue of Act One.

By Emily Mendieta, Staff Writer

The Niles West Theatre Department performed their rendition of the true story of “The Diary of Anne Frank,” last Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, accurately portraying the emotional and physical struggle the Jewish people endured during the Nazi regime.

The play is based off the actual diary written by Anne Frank while in hiding during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. The play begins with Anne Frank, Mr. Frank, Mrs. Frank and Margot Frank entering the annex for the first time alongside Miep and Mr. Kraler, the owners of the space. After they enter, Miep also decides to open the door to another family, the Van Daans.

At first, the Van Daans and the Franks have mixed feelings about one another, especially Peter Van Daan, their son, and Anne Frank, since they are similar in age. Throughout the play, Peter and Anne have a complicated relationship. The parents butt heads as well due to their contained circumstances and fear built up within themselves. Later on, Miep brings another Jew to the annex, Dr. Dussel, who stays in Anne’s room. Dr. Dussel is a conceited dentist, yet he adds a light sense of humor sometimes.

The realism of the play is both captured in the adaptation of characters and the detailed set. The levels of stages added dimension to the small studio space as well as an accurate depiction of the annex. The various props, such as the electric cigarette, music box, and luminous diary are realistic touches that have an emotional representation. The actors were cast perfectly. The characters spent almost two years in the annex and each actor accurately displayed unique character development. The play was emotional, devastating, and even lightly humorous at some points.

The play ends with the Nazis invading the annex and taking all the characters away. The final scene explains what happened to each character after the Nazis came through a monologue by Mr. Frank. This scene was performed beautifully due to the outstanding performance and blocking which made the scene all the more heartfelt. After seeing “The Diary of Anne Frank,” I am still in shock that the annex was once a reality for the characters.