Authenticity, remembrance and resonance are at the heart of The Theatre School@ North Coast Rep’s new production of “The Diary of Anne Frank,” which opens Nov. 21, and features a gripping new adaptation by Wendy Kesselman from the original stage play by Francis Goodrich and Albert Hackett that weaves newly discovered writings from the diary of Anne Frank with survivor accounts.
Authenticity comes from the hours the cast of local 9- to 19-year-olds are spending time watching documentaries about Anne Frank (a 13-year-old Dutch girl who recounted her family’s struggles as they hid from the Nazis for two years), visiting the San Diego Jewish Academy (SDJA) and hearing the stories of Holocaust survivors, some of whom will tell their stories at the performances. The production was made possible by the City of Solana Beach.
Remembrance comes through the production’s participation in The Butterfly Project, a hands-on art project created by SDJA in 2006 to memorialize the Jewish children killed in the Holocaust. The project involves making 1.5 million ceramic butterflies worldwide in honor of the children’s memory. Theatergoers will have the chance to paint ceramic butterflies for a permanent display at the Theatre School.
After the performances, audiences will hear from Holocaust survivors such as Fanny Krasner Lebovits, who was born in Lithuania and was liberated after living in four concentration camps. The great-grandmother will speak after the Nov. 23 matinee at 2 p.m.
Abby DeSpain, from Del Mar, plays Anne Frank and is joined by other local performers, including Phillip Magin (Mr. Van Daan, from Solana Beach) and Geoff Geissinger (Mr. Dussel, from Carmel Valley).
The Diary of Anne Frank opens Thursday, Nov. 21. Performances are Nov. 21 at 5 p.m., Nov. 22 at 7 p.m., Nov. 23 at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., and Nov. 24 at 2 p.m. North Coast Repertory Theatre is located at 987 Lomas Santa Fe Drive, Suite D, Solana Beach, CA 92075. Tickets are $16 for adults and $12 for ages 17 and under. To purchase tickets, call 858-481-1055 or visit www.northcoastrep.org.