“Diary” Comes to Life

The Kansas City Repertory Theatre’s production of The Diary of Anne Frank is a tear-jerking, eye-opening rendition of the horrors of the Holocaust from the perspective of the famous young diarist Anne Frank. The performance combines writings from her diary along with radio recordings delivering war updates.

From 1942 to 1944, in the back of a Central Amsterdam building, a bookcase conceals the door to the Secret Annex. Behind the door, the Franks, van PelsA&E, and Fritz Pfeffer live in fear of being found by the Nazis. They must be cautious of every move and sound they make. On the other side of the door, Otto Frank’s employees carry on with business without a clue of the eight people suffering and starving.

Anne writes in her diary often to help pass the time and to get her thoughts and frustrations out. This keeps her from suffocating in the tight quarters of the Annex.

Having read The Diary of a Young Girl back in middle school, I expected that I would need to bring tissues. However, I was not expecting to laugh during the production. Multiple times.

To say that the cast, directors, and writers did the script justice is an understatement. They created authenticity while presenting the heart-pounding, sweaty palm, and torturous experiences of being a Jewish person during World War II. But also the important moments of being a human who needs a little laughter and hope to stay sane.

“I think everyone should be seeing this,” Nicole Marie Green, a UMKC student who plays older sister Margot Frank, said. “It’s important for adults and children alike to know the story of Anne Frank. Sometimes it’s easy to remove yourself from a big idea, but what the play shows us are the people. We get to see their likes and dislikes, and their love blossom between them as one family. When you shrink it down to the love and loss of people, it’s much more difficult to turn a blind eye.” Not only is this a powerful story, it is actual history about the cruelty and strength of humankind. Also, it’s a scary reminder that history can repeat itself.

“Because of that, and the state in which the world is in today, there is no better time to tell this story of refugees,” Green.

The production plays through Feb. 21 at Spencer Theatre. Student discounts are available with a student ID.

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