Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

Phantom Projects’ one-night-only showing­ ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’

The Phantom Projects theatre group will be unveiling their one-night-only rendition of one of the greatest WWII dramas ever told in, “The Diary of Anne Frank,” directed by Alexis Jacknow, on Feb. 20, at the La Mirada Performing Arts Center.

A famous tale of the perseverance of youthful innocence and humanity in the face of unspeakable cruelties, the diary was originally recovered by Miep Gies, who helped hide the family and saved the papers until she had the opportunity to give them to Otto Frank, Anne’s father.

For two years the Frank family hid with others in the sealed-off upper rooms of the annex of her Otto’s office building in Amsteram.

There they stayed, with her mother Edith, older sister Margot, the Van Daan family, and their dentist Mr. Dussel, until they were betrayed in August 1944 and deported to Nazi concentration camps.

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Anne died of typhus less than a year later in late March 1945 at Bergen-Belsen, only two weeks before the camp was liberated by British troops.

Although over a half-century old, the story of Anne Frank is one that has captivated millions. Even those unfamiliar with history or who have never picked up the diary itself to read through, know of the atrocities of the Holocaust and recognize the incredible tale of the young girl.

“It’s always a challenge to bring a historical piece to the stage because you want to honor the people and story you are portraying,” Jacknow said of directing such a historically signifigant drama.

“With that comes volumes of research. Fortunately, so much has been written about Anne Frank and her time in the Annex, that we had incredible resources to draw from.”

Frank will be portrayed by the young and talented Joey Maya Safchik, while her father and mother will be played by Thomas Mendola and Karen Leabo respectively.

“Joey and Tom have done a wonderful job researching their roles. For Joey, this has been a life long dream role. She once did a report on Anne Frank at school and has a vast well of knowledge about Anne’s life,” commented Jacknow on her two lead actors.

“I know Tom has been watching videos of Otto Frank to learn more about him. As a cast, we all visited the Anne Frank Exhibit at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles for further research.”

The amount of dedication is passionatley inherent in the cast and production team to this incredible tale.

To Jacknow, it is one that needs to be told, “ I feel that the optimism inherent in Anne’s diary was a critical tone to bring to the production. Even when she is feeling down or has had a fight with someone she tries to be better. She tries to bring out her finer side. It is her attempts to emotionally triumph over her dire circumstances that make the play hopeful and ultimately even more devastating.”

Steve Cisneros will be producing the production, while other cast members include Valerie Rose Lohman as Miep Gies, Max Herzfeld as Peter Van Daan, Patrick Birman as Mr. Kraler, Lizanne Keigley as Mrs. Van Daan, Bill Carson as Mr. Van Daan, and John Francis as Mr. Dussel.

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