For the past 12 weeks I have given my heart and soul to the theatre program at the high school I work at. We started with auditions during the first week of school and have worked each day after school and on weekends to make the show come to life. This was my first experience solely directing a show, and I can’t lie and say it wasn’t extremely overwhelming at times. However, the student actors are so talented and dedicated that it was hard to find a complaint. Additionally,the staff at my school have been more than helpful and supportive throughout the process. A colleague of mine agreed to create our program and as I was sending her the information to include, I realized I’d have to write a director’s note. I thought, at first, that I would give just a little blurb about how excited I am to be part of a fantastic program and how proud I am of the kids, but then again – I am a writer. And as I began writing I started realizing how fortunate I am to be able to create a world on stage that can act as an escape not only for me but for the kids too. Today I am sharing my director’s note with you. Later next week, I’ll share my entire play process.
Hello and welcome to our production of The Diary of Anne Frank. Creating a show is such a wonderful experience; the theatre is a space where I can leave behind my day to day worries to create – and for a time live in – an “alternate reality”. How fortunate we are to present that reality as entertainment to friends and family who fill our audiences. A high school production cannot go on without the help of many student, teacher, and community volunteers. Together, we have worked magnificently to create something unique. My hat’s off to our marvelously talented student actors who have astounded me every single day. Our common goal tonight is that you will also be able to, for a short while, become lost in our “alternate reality”.
It is difficult to direct a show with so much dramatic irony. My wish for tonight is that you will forget everything you think you know about Anne Frank; this story is not the one you have learned about. No, this story, does not focus on concentration camps and Hitler’s Nazi regime. Instead, it tells the tale about a young girl and her family (and a few others) who experience their day-to-day lives in an Annex, quarreling and bickering, loving and celebrating. There is humour and lightheartedness, anger and sadness, and even a teenage love story all leading to our obvious and inevitable end.
The greatest challenge as a director is to create sustainable characters that will authenticate, in this case, a very real story while also finding new elements to keep the show fresh and entertaining. I hope I have achieved that goal. You will notice that there are two actors playing Anne. This choice was made to showcase the innocence of Annex Anne in relation to her written word. Tonight, please join Theatre Aquinas’ Student Actors as we shift to WWII Amsterdam to meet Mrs. Kraler, Miep, the Frank & Van Daan families, as well as the beloved Mr. Dussel. If you find yourself being captivated by our sweet Anne, falling in love with Peter, chuckling at Mrs. Van Daan, charmed by Mr. Frank, or taken by any other characters – please look around you. I expect you will be among friends. Please enjoy the show!