The Diary of Anne Frank: Conversations

BY Heather O’Donell, CO-EDITOR-IN-CHIEF ’18

In just a little over a month, RBR will have the incredible opportunity to witness the courageous Anne Frank’s poignant story brought to life on stage in The Diary of Anne Frank. Below, drama teacher and play director Mr. Jackson answers questions about the play:


Q: Why did you choose to put on ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ this year? What do you hope audience members will take away from it?

Reuben Jackson [RJ]: I think it’s a timeless and universal tale in the midst of tragedy. It’s important to remember this time in history. I think it’s necessary that [Anne Frank’s] story be told to this generation, particularly since she was a teenager when she wrote her diary.


Q: What plans do you have for the scenery to make the audience members feel as if they are really living in the midst of World War II with Anne Frank?

RJ: The scenery will be evocative of the attic in which she was hiding, as well as the lighting and costumes. The costumes will be period costumes during the period of the play, 1942-1945.


Q: Describe a typical day at a rehearsal. What is it like?

RJ: We do intensive script analysis and scene work. We talk about the history and story of the play, which lead to a deeper understanding of the characters.


Q: What do you enjoy most about being the RBR drama teacher and play director?

RJ: The challenge of bringing exciting theater to the community and making theater relevant to students and faculty and giving them an opportunity to see theater when they might not be able to elsewhere.  


The play’s cast and crew also discussed the production:


Q: What are your objectives for this play? What do you hope to accomplish?

Jesse Kodama [JK] (sophomore: Mr. Kraler): To portray the story in a way that connects with the audience.

Sophie Wright [SW] (junior: Miep Gies): To work with a small cast and bring justice to a really good story.

Trinity McQuillan [TM] (senior: Head Stage Manager and Crew Director): To build on my experience helping to manage the crew and cast and to help put on a great show.


Q: What are the challenges of doing this play?

SW: It’s difficult because I feel everyone has a responsibility to accurately portray the characters because it’s a true story. You want to respect the characters from the Holocaust. Also, because it’s a small cast, you can’t hide behind anyone else.

TM: Versus other shows, it’s a very acting-heavy show. Usually in the script there are more specifics, but this play spans over the course of two years and those time jumps are unspecified.


Q: What do you like about this play?

JK: I like having a small cast because you get to know individual characters and the cast members more and get more one-on-one time with the director.

SW: I like the story overall and I like Anne. And I like having a small cast because it makes the environment feel more intimate.

TM: I like the dynamics of this cast. Having a small cast allows you to dig into the characters and build relationships with the cast.


Q: What are the dynamics of this play and cast like?

JK: Everybody works together well–it’s a nice group of people coming together in acting.


SW: I feel like this cast, in the short time we’ve been rehearsing, has already gotten so close. We can build relationships more quickly because there’s fewer of us.

TM: I like having a small cast because it’s easier for us to build relationships with each other.  


Q: Can you describe your experience so far?

JK: This is my first play and my first time playing a role in high school. I’ve never worked with a cast this small before. It’s nice being able to make a role my own.

SW: At RBR, this is my fourth play, but this play is different because of the smaller cast and the fact that this is a true story, so that definitely changes it a little bit.

TM: Different. This is my seventh show here. Every show brings different cast members and dynamics, but this show is like a well-fit puzzle. The cast was very well thought-out.


Q: Why should people come see this play?

JK: Even though this play is short timewise, it’s long emotionally. It’s about working with freedom, but knowing all your happiness and freedom could come to an end, so you learn to appreciate everything you have. And that’s why people should come see this play.

SW:  It’s a good story that I feel a lot of people should hear. Even though it happened a long time ago, there are themes in it that still apply today.

TM: Because it’s based on World War II and everyone knows the story of Anne Frank and what will happen, but can still relate to characters as audience members and can laugh and cry along with the characters. There are surprises, too.


Q: Is there anything else about this play you want the audience to know?

SW: Even though it’s a serious play and we know its ending is sad, that doesn’t mean the whole play is just sad. There are still moments of joy and optimism in the play.


Don’t miss your chance to see this amazing play! It will be performed Thursday, November 29 to Saturday, December 1!

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