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The Diary of Anne Frank at American Academy

Seventh-grader Sarah Tepsic, who played Anne, received her famed diary from her father Mr. Frank, played by eighth-grader Jared Engerman.

By Liz Rector; photos courtesy of American Academy

There were moments during the play, “The Diary of Anne Frank,” where it was easy to forget you were sitting in a school in Colorado rather than war-torn Germany. The production began the moment audience members streamed into the intimate space one by one, through a bookcase, which was actually a secret door.

Immediately, one got the feeling of being in the apartment that the Frank and VanDaan families were forced to spend two years of their lives in, for some, it would be their last two years alive.

In the comfortable space before the audience, there sat a sofa and loveseat, a dining table, a kitchenette and two small bedrooms on opposite ends of the stage.

As the play progressed, you could feel the buzz of silent fascination crackling through the audience. And once the final scene unfolded, several audience members could be heard sniffling and seen wiping away shed tears with tissues.

In all, there were six showings of the play, directed by drama instructor Mark Middlebrooks and performed by the students of American Academy’s Performing Arts department. The play was based upon the book “Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl” and dramatized by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett.

The Frank family received another occupant, Mr. Dussel, played by sixth-grader Tate Murphy.

“Anne Frank really changed my opinion on how much we need to value life, and how short it is,” said Castle Pines eighth-grader, Olivia Gallo, who played Mrs. Van Daan.

Mr. Middlebrooks added in his director’s welcome that, “our hope is that each of us will be impacted by the honesty of this story to the extent that it could serve to ask the question, ‘who are we?’ and ‘who do we hope to become’?”

Anne Frank considered this very question and despite the atrocities surrounding her, despite her crowded and stale surroundings, despite having her life put on hold and knowing that it might very well come to an abrupt end, she chose to see the light of humanity even in the midst of its darkest days. Now in 2017, 73 years after the ink dried on her diary’s pages, the words she wrote continue to inspire, “In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”



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