February 17, 2010
‘Anne Frank’ important for kids to see
By ROGER SMITH
I remember visiting the concentration camp at Dachau with students the first time I was in Germany.
I remember taking students a second time some years later to visit the camp, but I had to wait outside because I remembered just how upsetting it was to see man’s inhumanity to man.
I remember being with Model U. N. students at the United Nations Building in New York City and seeing those students weep as they stood in front of “Auschwitz Revisited,” a poster show about that concentration camp.
I remember the display of shoes at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. Because I saw G. B. Theatre’s production of “The Diary of Anne Frank” at the Ashtabula Arts Center, I was once again reminded to respect the dignity of every man.
“The Diary of Anne Frank” is a good show for young people to see — young people who perhaps don’t know the severity of the Holocaust, young people who were born half a century after the end of World War II, or young people for whom Holocaust is just a word. Of course, it isn’t a play with a happy ending. The audience sat stunned as the Nazis swept blitzkrieg-like into the house – lugers waving - and removed the Frank family at gunpoint amidst crying and sobbing.
The cast of this show did an admirable job in portraying a Jewish family hiding from extermination in the attic of a house where they could not make any noise while the business below was open; they could not look out the window; they could not flush the toilet, they could not wear shoes; they could not cough or sneeze; they could not…for the 25 long months they were in hiding.
A story of hiding and family love and psychological deterioration and journal writing and emotion and near starvation, “The Diary of Anne Frank”, directed by Stephen Rhodes, should be a must-see show for families with teenagers. It is well done, poignant, and steps back into history during one of the darkest moments ever recorded. This production, in addition to being entertaining, might just open the doors for some family conversations.
I remember — a bittersweet remembrance — when I was a hugger and greeter for the Nurnberg Military Community Special Olympics in the stadium where Hitler once amassed his troops to encourage the annihilation of Jews and countless others who didn’t quite ‘measure up’ to Nazi Germany standards.
The show runs tonight, Saturday and Sunday Feb. 26 and 27. Curtain time is 8 on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets may be reserved by phoning the arts center at 964-3396.