Discovering there was a community theater in Lebanon, Illinois, while driving home from work, I knew I wanted to view a performance. Perusing the Looking Glass Playhouse’s site, I saw The Diary of Anne Frank was showing in March. Having recently watched a six-episode documentary on Auschwitz, I had to purchase tickets.
Directed by Kathleen Dwyer and Rob Lippert, the utilization of the stage was mesmerizing- not a nook or cranny was wasted. With different scenes highlighted through lighting, the audience was led through two tempestuous years of the life of a young girl.
Anne Frank, played by Diana Risse, Margot Frank played by Victoria Symonds, and Peter Van Daan played by Connor Sanders truly embraced the metamorphosis from innocent children to burdened young adults due to the horrors of warfare.
Close attention to detail was made by the costume designer, Cathy Symonds. Characters initially dressed in white socks and kempt attire for Act I were found to be in holey socks and ragged sweaters for Act II showing the progression of time and the effects of lingering circumstances.
The visual impact of the final scene with all characters on stage standing at attention as excerpts of Anne Frank’s diary projected across their bodies had quite the influence on the audience. When lights were brought up again, there was brief hesitation as to whether the audience should clap or cry after such an absorbing orchestration.
My only complaint was the lack of biographies on the cast, staff, and directors in the program. Overwhelmed by such a production, I wanted to learn more about those involved in The Diary of Anne Frank’s fruition.
Future showings are March 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22, 23, 2014.