Jefferson theater brings The Diary of Anne Frank to life


Grace Mak

Juliana Gruver, Olivia Johansson, Olympia Hatzilambrou, and Joshua Mutterperl rehearse a scene from the production a day before the first show.

Grace Mak, Staff Writer

Filled with quotes that Anne Frank wrote in her diary, the walls of the Black Box Theatre faded from view as the room went pitch black and actors slowly made their way to the stage, transforming it into the Secret Annex.

The first shows of the Diary of Anne Frank production were directed by Jefferson’s drama teacher, Jennifer Lowery, and held on Fri., Nov. 11 and Sat., Nov. 12. In addition to directing, she runs the technical elements and the light sequences. The show’s crew will perform for free for Jefferson faculty and staff on Wed., Nov 16 after school and will hold an additional show on Fri., Nov. 18. In their performances, the drama program hoped to bring the Holocaust, a significant historical event, to life through Anne Frank’s story.

“For us, we had a discussion about our main messages and what we want to relate to the audience. A lot of times when you hear and learn about the Holocaust, it’s from a very impersonal view,” said Mutterperl. “You look at stats, you look at numbers, you look at figures, so we talked about the importance of giving the Holocaust a human face and seeing real people and the impact it has on them.”

As the auditorium is still not yet open, the Diary of Anne Frank production was held in the Black Box Theatre. The drama program made the most out of a smaller room by choosing a play that was enhanced rather than hindered by the different atmosphere.

“Ms. Lowery, she knew that we would be in the Black Box for this time, which is why she chose Anne Frank because being in a black box is a really close, intimate experience, and she thinks that that’s a play that works really well with that — and I agree,” said Mutterperl. “So that [intimate environment] is one thing that you might kind of lose on a bigger stage.”

Freshman Howard Malc, who played Mr. Kraler in this production, was proud of the results from the effort put into the show.

“I think everyone was really able to pull everything together. Sometimes it seemed like, ‘We’re not going to get everything done,’ or ‘It’s not going to be good,’ but everyone worked for it, so in the end we had a pretty good performance.”

At the closing of the Friday night show, a Holocaust survivor, Marcel Drimer, was invited to share his story and answer questions about his life from the audience. Drimer had recently talked to some of Jefferson’s students during an eighth period event, and after finding it an enjoyable experience, he decided to come back to visit and watch the play. Drimer’s story fascinated Malc, whose grandfather is also a Holocaust survivor.

“Some [Holocaust survivors] talk about how they went into hiding, others talk about how they were captured and the conditions they had to go through,” said Malc. “To see them out today is truly impressive.”

Sophomore Suriya Rajasekaren, who is part of the production team for the show, was grateful for the opportunity to speak to one of the few Holocaust survivors left today.

“It was honestly a great experience because I loved just seeing his reactions to the play that we had just performed and having him spread his stories. It’s a very rare chance that you get to meet an actual Holocaust survivor.”

Drimer was really touched by the performance. At the closing of the show, he expressed his appreciation to the cast.

“I cried when I watched your show. You did a wonderful, wonderful job.”