Zachary Burrell, Amy Attaway, Jon Patrick O’Brien, & Clara Harris in And Then They Came For Me. Photo courtesy of StageOne.
And Then They Came For Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank
By James Still
Directed by Jon Huffman
Review by Kate Barry
Entire contents are copyright © 2016 Kate Barry. All rights reserved.
The period surrounding the Holocaust and the second World War provide boundless lessons of tolerance and hope in a time where so many fall victim to hate. The most recognizable symbol of hope is Anne Frank and her diary of dreams and fears. Her short, innocent life sways to that of legend; it’s hard to believe that something so terrible could happen to any child. StageOne Family Theater has crafted a humble and honest multimedia portrayal of the world where Anne Frank lived, complete with actual interviews from those who knew her personally and survived the cruelties of the Nazi regime.
The sparse staging with evocative lighting and sound effects, as well as interview footage from survivors, Eva Geiringer and Ed Silberberg, creates bold images through the eyes of the young victims. The small ensemble is effective in creating this world as they huddle together in the shadows of a prison train-car, remain perfectly still at the sound of SS army footsteps, and shudder within the cold death camps. These simple elements create vivid snapshots of terror and distress through the eyes of innocent youths.
Amy Attaway, Tamara Dearing, Zach Burrell, Wesley Edwards, Jon Patrick O’Brien and Clara Harris make up the ensemble of characters living in Anne Frank’s world. Attaway plays Eva, a schoolmate and friend of Frank’s whose story nearly parallels her experience. In her performance, Attaway has created a strong willed young girl who is a true survivor and who provides the majority of narration throughout the piece. Where this plot device could be condescending to a younger audience, Attaway’s lighter cadence and body language transforms her into a typical adolescent which provides for more tragedy in the darker scenes of the play. Wesley Edwards fulfills the other half of the narration as Ed, Anne Frank’s childhood sweetheart. Edwards brings tenderness to his recollections of Anne while holding on to suspenseful fear as he narrowly escapes Nazi soldiers.
As Anne Frank, Tamara Dearing is spirited and bright, as she appears ghost-like in the memories of her childhood friends. Jon Patrick O’Brien delivers the Hitler Youth perspective as a young man joining the ranks of the uprising. Here we see the full impact of Nazism as O’Brien goes from young boy excited to belong to jaded man brainwashed by a force stronger than anything he will ever understand.
StageOne Family Theater has staged a very important piece of theater for all ages. In a time where refugees are pushed out of their home country, individuals are harassed for how they identify themselves, and countless others are affected by discrimination, And Then They Came For Me is a crucial and beneficial historical reminder.
And Then They Came for Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank
February 7 & 13 @ 2 pm
February 20 @ 7pm
StageOne Family Theater
501 West Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202
Kate Barry earned her Bachelors in English with a Theater minor from Bellarmine University in 2008. She has worked with many different companies around town including Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Bunbury Theater, Louisville Repertory Company, Walden Theater, Finnigan Productions and you have probably purchased tickets from her at that little performing arts center on Main Street as well. In 2012, her short play “PlayList” won festival favorite in the Finnigan Festival of Funky Fresh Fun. She has written for Leo Weekly and TheatreLouisville.com as well. Thanks for reading!