The Diary of Anne Frank was published 75 years ago, introducing the world to a young girl’s experience during World War II. It detailed her struggles to survive, hiding with her family in a secret annex in Amsterdam amid war, fascism and religious persecution.
She not only recorded the goings-on in the annex, but also wrote deeply personal thoughts, feelings and observations that ranged from dark and full of despair to unbelievably optimistic. The book offered a window into the Holocaust unlike any other.
In honor of the anniversary, Stageworks Theatre is presenting a production based on the diary from Feb. 4-20 in Tampa.
“This play is a testament to the human spirit and a wonderful example of how theater can educate, illuminate and inspire,” producing artistic director Karla Hartley said in a news release. “At a time when anti-Semitic incidents are at an all-time high, we need performances like this to remind us of our shared history, as well as educate the next generation on the atrocities of the Holocaust.”
Mercy Roberts portrays the title role of Anne Frank. The 16-year-old Berkley Prep student has appeared in several productions at Stageworks and St. Petersburg’s American Stage.
Because of the poignant nature of the play, at the end of each Sunday matinee performance, there will be talk-backs with cast members and local Jewish leaders.
At 7 p.m. Feb. 20, Tampa playwright Mark Lieb will offer a free reading of his play, Angel of Auschwitz. The piece sees the relationship between a secular playwright and an Auschwitz survivor who together try to determine how a Jew should live in the post-Holocaust world.
If you go
The Diary of Anne Frank. $35-$50. Feb. 4-20. A preview performance happens Feb. 3. Stageworks Theatre, 1120 E Kennedy Blvd., Tampa. 813-374-2416. stageworkstheatre.org.