Anne Frank & Me” wows audiences at Rocky Heights
The Holocaust and its effects were explored by students at Rocky Heights Middle School during the very moving production of A”nne Frank & Me.” Director and RHMS music and drama teacher Susan Ritter was impressed with how the actors and the audiences reacted to the show. “Middle school students really can handle a lot of serious topics,” Ritter remarked.
By RHMS eighth grade student Layla Rainosek; photo courtesy of RHMS eighth grade student Kylie Hutchison
The chatter of only one person isn’t loud. It isn’t disruptive, it isn’t deafening. Neither is the chatter of two, or even three. The general chatter of close to two hundred people is a very different story. That was a revelation made to the actors backstage on December fourth and fifth at Rocky Heights Middle School (RHMS). “Anne Frank & Me,” a play about a girl who experiences the Holocaust while in a coma, was held at the school on both nights. The production involved approximately twenty students, including cast and crew.
Castle Pines residents Ashley Zbylski and Elizabeth Mayr were the first performers on stage. The curtains opened and the crowd fell dead silent. Although it’s nerve racking to act in front of a crowd, it’s also exhilarating. Actors feed off of the adrenaline, everything becomes sharper, and it affects performance as well. The performances were full of emotion and laughter. “I learned [through “Anne Frank & Me”] that you must have a lot of faith in everyone to do their part,” said Abigail Higgins, who played the role of Anne Frank.
Everyone had to trust each other and the tech crew and the actors had an equal part in the success of the production. The cast became very close after spending time with the same people for more than two hours every day, and acting in a play with a topic like the Holocaust.
Jackson Mooney, who played the role of Jason remarked, “You can have a second family with your cast. The production just felt closer and more real because we were one big family.” Zbylski summed up the feelings of the cast and crew on the final night of performances. “I think that since we all brought something into the show, on that last night, it was exciting, but it was bittersweet because we were now finished.”
There were laughs, and shocked silences from the crowds and that is the most rewarding part of performing; the reactions. With a lot of people, it means that it’s done for an audience, and with an audience, comes a purpose. With a purpose, comes a cause. With a cause, comes those supporting it, and supporting it, was the “Anne Frank & Me” family.