SBCT tugs at the heart with “Diary of Anne Frank”

Young girl’s words have a lesson for all of us


The story of Anne Frank is heavy. It is simply heart wrenching. It is a brutal reminder of how vicious people can be.

South Baldwin Community Theatre Director Jan Vest said there is so much more to the legacy the little girl left behind.

“The Diary of Anne Frank” is the true story of a young girl who hid with her family from the Nazis, and was eventually discovered and sent to a concentration camp where she perished. Its narrative is pulled directly from the handwritten diaries that Anne left behind.

Vest said it is in her words that we find hope, love and a little bit of peace.

I’m almost 70 years old so when you’ve lived a long life and you’ve experienced all that life has to bring to you it forms your perspectives.

“What’s unique about Anne Frank is that even though she hasn’t lived a long life she matures very quickly and takes on this positive, aspirational attitude because of the good life she had before the war started,” Vest said.

“That contrast between the love of family, the love of friends and facing one’s own mortality – it makes those moments that you have with your loved ones and your friends so much more meaningful and so much more poignant and emotional in terms of the positive experience.”

Vest said Anne left a lesson behind for all of us.

“It’s such an important message about humanity and also about the life of a young girl that is cut short and the lessons she can teach all of us with her aspirations and the way she responds to such terrible circumstances,” Vest said.

The exceptional and experienced cast that delivers her powerful words is led by Mackenzie Mayo as Anne Frank. Rounding out the cast are Deborah Hawkins (Edith Frank), Ruth Mayo (Margot Frank), Andy Burgess (Mr. Van Daan), Bill Swanson (Mr. Kramer), Isabella Cosby (Miep), Robert W. Gardner (Otto Frank), Larkin West (Peter Van Daan,) Paula Dumas (Mrs. Van Daan) and Dennis Bohac (Jan Dussel).

“Diary of Anne Frank” opened in 1955 and won nearly every award a stage production could nab including the Pulitzer Prize in 1956. Vest said the production’s experienced cast delivers an experience that will linger with theatre-goers long after the curtain drops.

“It has all the elements of good theatre good drama,” Vest said. “There is some comedy and light heartedness and a lot of good positive emotions as well as the tragedy of what happened to the Frank family.”