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The Diary of Anne Frank

by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett
Newly adapted by Wendy Kesselman
permission by Dramatists Play Service
Audition Dates: Feb 16-17, 2019 (tentative)
Performance Dates: April 12-28, 2019
Production Photos: April 10, 2019

In this transcendently powerful new adaptation by Wendy Kesselman, Anne Frank emerges from history a living, lyrical, intensely gifted young girl, who confronts her rapidly changing life and the increasing horror of her time with astonishing honesty, wit, and determination. An impassioned drama about the lives of eight people hiding from the Nazis in a concealed storage attic, THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK captures the claustrophobic realities of their daily existence—their fear, their hope, their laughter, their grief. Each day of these two dark years, Anne's voice shines through: "When I write I shake off all my cares. But I want to achieve more than that. I want to be useful and bring enjoyment to all people, even those I've never met. I want to go on living even after my death!" This is a new adaptation for a new generation.

Characters

Anne Frank - The author of the diary.

Margot Frank - Anne’s older sister. Margot was born in Frankfurt in 1926. She receives little attention in Anne’s diary, and Anne does not provide a real sense of Margot’s character. Anne thinks that Margot is pretty, smart, emotional, and everyone’s favorite. However, Anne and Margot do not form a close bond, and Margot mainly appears in the diary when she is the cause of jealousy or anger. She dies of typhus in the concentration camp a few days before Anne does.

Otto Frank - Anne’s father. Otto is practical and kind, and Anne feels a particular kinship to him. He was born on May 12, 1889, into a wealthy Frankfurt family, but the family’s international-banking business collapsed during the German economic depression that followed World War I. After the Nazis came to power in Germany, Otto moved to Amsterdam in 1933 to protect his family from persecution. There he made a living selling chemical products and provisions until the family was forced into hiding in 1942. Otto is the only member of the family to survive the war, and he lives until 1980.

Edith Frank - Anne’s mother. Edith Hollander was originally from Aachen, Germany, and she married Otto in 1925. Anne feels little closeness or sympathy with her mother, and the two have a very tumultuous relationship. Anne thinks her mother is too sentimental and critical. Edith dies of hunger and exhaustion in the concentration camp at Auschwitz in January 1945.

Mr. van Daan - The father of the family that hides in the annex along with the Franks and who had worked with Otto Frank as an herbal specialist in Amsterdam. Mr. van Daan’s actual name is Hermann van Pels, but Anne calls him Mr. van Daan in the diary. According to Anne, he is intelligent, opinionated, pragmatic, and somewhat egotistical. Mr. van Daan is temperamental, speaks his mind openly, and is not afraid to cause friction, especially with his wife, with whom he fights frequently and openly. He dies in the gas chambers at Auschwitz in October or November of 1944.

Mrs. van Daan - Mr. van Daan’s wife. Her actual name is Auguste van Pels, but Anne calls her Petronella van Daan in her diary. Anne initially describes Mrs. van Daan as a friendly, teasing woman, but later calls her an instigator. She is a fatalist and can be petty, egotistical, flirtatious, stingy, and disagreeable. Mrs. van Daan frequently complains about the family’s situation—criticism that Anne does not admire or respect. Mrs. van Daan does not survive the war, but the exact date of her death is unknown.

Peter van Daan - The teenage son of the van Daans, whose real name is Peter van Pels. Anne first sees Peter as obnoxious, lazy, and hypersensitive, but later they become close friends. Peter is quiet, timid, honest, and sweet to Anne, but he does not share her strong convictions. During their time in the annex, Anne and Peter develop a romantic attraction, which Mr. Frank discourages. Peter is Anne’s first kiss, and he is her one confidant and source of affection and attention in the annex. Peter dies on May 5, 1945, at the concentration camp at Mauthausen, only three days before the camp was liberated.

Albert Dussel - A dentist and an acquaintance of the Franks who hides with them in the annex. His real name is Fritz Pfeffer, but Anne calls him Mr. Dussel in the diary. Anne finds Mr. Dussel particularly difficult to deal with because he shares a room with her, and she suffers the brunt of his odd personal hygiene habits, pedantic lectures, and controlling tendencies. Mr. Dussel’s wife is a Christian, so she does not go into hiding, and he is separated from her. He dies on December 20, 1944, at the Neuengamme concentration camp.

Miep Gies - A secretary at Otto’s office who helps the Franks hide. After the Franks are arrested, she stows the diary away in a desk drawer and keeps it there, unread, until Otto’s return in 1945. She died in 2010 at the age of 100.

Mr. Kugler - A man who helps hide the Franks in the annex. Victor Kugler is arrested along with Kleiman in 1944 but escapes in 1945. He immigrates to Canada in 1955 and dies in Toronto in 1981. Mr. Kugler is also referred to as Mr. Kraler.