As opening night for Martensville High School’s production of “The Diary of Anne Frank” nears closer, the ten student cast has been putting in countless hours perfecting their characters. The script comes from a play that was based around the diary of Anne Frank, a young woman who spent two years in Amsterdam hiding in a secret annex from the Nazis with her family during World War II. Anne’s father, Otto Frank, was the only person out of eight living within the walls of the annex that they called home during this time, to survive after being found. Upon the discovery of the diary, the story of their time in hiding was published, becoming an important part of history.
Since September, the students, teachers and parents involved in making the performance a success have been hard at work, ensuring that come opening night, everything is perfect. “I am very pleased with the progress and the actors are doing a wonderful job of coming along in their characters. Here, at the end, as we tighten the screws a bit on what’s remaining, I think their performances here on stage are just getting better and better. I encourage them to not think that they have hit where they should be but to always work to improve and they are doing it,” said Micah Robinson, MHS teacher and director of the play.
The students who, according to Robinson, “have lived and breathed this play for months” have captured each of the characters perfectly. Throughout the many rehearsals and after school practices, the cast has transformed from high school students into Anne Frank, Otto Frank, Peter Van Daan, Mr. Kraler and the rest of the extraordinary characters involved. “I am surprised every year that we can get the performances out of some of these actors to make us believe that they are 30, 40 or 50 year old people. On the flip side of that, they are sometimes playing characters that are younger and just by their movements, and the way they speak, they envelop everything about that character,” Robinson added.
Robinson, who has been directing the annual plays for numerous years, is pleased with where things are currently at and in the upcoming two weeks, the cast will be running several full runs to finalize all of the final details for the sold out show. With an avid interest in theatre, Robinson feels as though the ability to teach classes at MHS, as well as be involved with the annual production, has provided him with the best of both worlds. “I am very passionate about what I teach and I love my job because of what I teach and the kids in my classroom, but I am also very passionate about theatre and this is definitely a great part of my job.” In addition to being able to pursue his passion, Robinson looks forward to the future possibilities many of these actors can have within theatre, whether it be another high school production, in university, community theatre, or elsewhere. “I expect that a number of these fine actors are going to go on and act someplace else, and I really hope that they do.”
In order for the incredible production to be what it is, it takes a wide array of students, teachers, parents, friends and more contributing their time, their talent and their kindness. Robinson wanted to ensure that each and every person involved in this production was aware of how appreciated their contributions are and that without their support, this wouldn’t be possible. “It’s just a massive amount of thank you’s that have to go out there. There have been so many people contributing and it is important to me that those people are recognized for putting this thing together.”
Opening night will take place on February 8th and run until the 10th. In total, there will be three sold out evening performance and five packed matinees.