ELMHURST – GreenMan Theatre Troupe will bring the written words of Anne Frank to life as it performs "The Diary of Anne Frank" from Sept. 28 to Oct. 14 in Elmhurst.
Troupe Artistic Director David Soria is directing the play, which is an adaptation by American playwright Wendy Kesselman of Anne's diary, which her father, Otto Frank, decided to publish after the Holocaust and World War II.
Anne was a Jewish girl who went into hiding with her family and another Jewish family in Amsterdam during the Holocaust. The families lived in a hidden attic space for more than two years, relying on Otto's four employees to bring them food, supplies and news.
Soria said Otto struggled with the decision to have Anne's diary published and shared with a wider audience since some of the people referenced at the time of the diary's publication were still alive, the war was "so fresh in everybody's mind" and there were some "difficult passages" in the diary related to Anne's relationship with her mother.
Soria said he was interested in doing the play because its ensemble nature appealed to him, with eight actors portraying the eight individuals who hid in the attic.
"Although it certainly focuses on Anne, every single one of those eight is on stage for practically the entire play, and there is a give and take and an interaction between them that appeals to me," he said.
Having an ensemble nature enriches the experience for each member of the all-volunteer cast, which has spent a lot of time in rehearsal, Soria said.
He added he believes the play is meaningful in today's context as well.
"I think that the play has a great deal to say to an audience of our time, when there are questions of immigration to this country, when there are white
supremacist rallies happening in this country," Soria said. "I think that the issues and themes that the play touches upon, the historical moment then and the historical moment now, are not as far apart as I think most people would wish they were."
Emma Boghossian, a freshman at Palatine High School, will portray the role of Anne.
"I'm very honored to be able to portray her and be a part of something so significant," Boghossian said.
She said part of the challenge of playing the role is expressing the emotions of sadness and anxiousness she believes Anne must have felt during her experience living in the attic.
"Obviously I've never been in a situation like that, so it's hard to find that emotion, especially coming back from it every night after rehearsal, being in such a dark spot and then going home and doing everyday things," Boghossian said.
This is Boghossian's first production with GreenMan. She previously has participated in Buffalo Grove Park District's Big Deal Productions, and she plans to audition for her school's winter musical. Observing other actors has helped her with her performances, she added.
Boghossian said she hopes audience members are "hit by the truth" of the story, and they are able to understand more about the events of the Holocaust.
"I hope people grow close to the characters in the show, and by the end of the show, they understand what really happened during these times," Boghossian said.
If you go
WHAT: "The Diary of Anne Frank"
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 28 and 29 and Oct. 5, 6, 12 and 13, 2 p.m. Sept. 30 and Oct. 7 and 14
WHERE: GreenMan Theatre Troupe's performance space at First United Methodist Church of Elmhurst, 232 S. York St., Elmhurst
COST: $17 for adults, $15 for seniors and students; tickets can be purchased online until four hours before performances, available tickets can be purchased at the door