- Written by Donella Swan Donella Swan
- Published: 03 March 2014 03 March 2014
Play seeks to help audience incorporate lessons of hope into their lives
Despite all her hardships, Anne Frank was a girl who never lost hope. Rosebud Theatre brings the story back to life, reliving her experience through World War II..
Spending over two years in hiding from the Nazis, Anne Frank's astonishingly honest story lives on past her existence and reminds us of one of the darkest times in human history.
Anne was a Jewish girl, who along with her family and another family, hid away from the Nazis in very close quarters in Amsterdam. Anne kept a diary of her situation during this time. Sadly, the two families were ousted and taken away to concentration camps. Only Anne's father Otto survived the atrocities of the camps, but he discovered his daughter's diary in which her tale lives on.
"Anne Frank, in the end, is all about hope," says Paul Muir, who is both the director of the production and also the education director for Rosebud Theatre. "Despite everything, she [chose] to believe that people are basically good."
Muir says it's this message of hope that helps the story resonate with audiences today. He says the "realness" aspect of the story really drives home this message as audience members watch a group of people who went through an incredibly tough time just simply try to survive.
"Whenever people are in a crisis, their true colours come out," Muir says. "I hope the audience comes away with a resounding message of hope."
Cassia Schramm, who will be playing the role of Anne, is a 2011 graduate of the Rosebud School of the Arts and is returning to their stage for the spring show. This is the second time Schramm has played an iconic role, having taken on the role of "Anne" in Anne of Green Gables in the summer of 2012, also produced by Rosebud Theatre.
When asked how she felt about playing the iconic role of Anne Frank, Schramm says she tries not to think of the role as iconic, but is rather trying to do justice in telling the story of a girl who lived through a tragedy.
"I'm really excited to play a girl who is so full of life, so full of hope and is so inspiring to people," Schramm says. "We get to journey with her through her diary, and we fall in love [with all the characters]. That's the gift Anne gives us."
Schramm says that because people are generally inspired by the stories of people who are heroic, generous and compassionate — in the case of Anne's story, this would be the people who helped hide these families away from the Nazi regime — she feels this story is an invitation for audience members to be inspired to perform these types of heroic acts no matter how big or small in their everyday life.
"[Because she was] an ordinary girl, I think we can see ourselves in her," Schramm says. "She's so full of life and ambition. She wanted to be a writer so she could live on after her death, [and in the end], that's what happened for her."
Although the main story itself does deal with the dark reality of the Holocaust, Muir promises that the script delivers a delightful coming-of-age story and even has some comedic relief throughout the play.
"I mean she's still a young girl and we get to watch as she [falls in love] for the first time," Muir says.
He says he hopes many people will take in this production, particularly the younger crowd, because he feels the story is a good reminder of what the Holocaust meant and how it shaped our world today.
"What would our world be like if it had gone the other way?" Muir asks. "It's a frightening thing to consider."
Rosebud, Alta., is located approximately an hour east of Calgary. The Diary of Anne Frank runs from March 28 to May 17. Ticket prices range from $58.99 to $71.99, which includes a meal and the price of admission. More information can be found on Rosebud Theatre.