By Samantha Ortiz
CCC Journalism Program

BLACKWOOD – The classic drama, The Diary of Anne Frank, will be performed Feb. 11 to 19, 2011 by the Mainstage Center for the Arts.

The performance will take place in the recently renovated Dennis Flyer Theatre at Camden County College. Joe Caliva, the director of The Diary of Anne Frank, says a more professional looking production is possible due to the improvements of the stage.

The group will offer school performances, which invite only instructors and students, for a student discounted price of $6. The regular performances will encourage everybody to fall (or re-fall) in love with the story of Anne Frank.

Taylor Coccia is assuming the role of Anne Frank, a young Jewish girl who had to escape the Nazis during World War II by going into hiding with her family. For two years, they lived in a walled-off section of an office belonging to Frank’s father, Otto Frank, who is being played by Charles Hoffman. Frank uses her diary to confide all of her thoughts, feelings and experiences, which were especially needed during her hiding.

The plot and relationships between the characters in the play are drawn from the diary entries written by Frank over the two-year period. “There are, however, several diary entries, exactly as Anne Frank wrote them, that are either read or heard in voiceover by Anne’s character throughout the play,” said Caliva.

It is simple to see why one would turn the beloved book into a stage production. Caliva said, “and with many American citizens presently being treated like second-class citizens because of their sexual orientation, race or creed, it’s easy for anyone to realize how relevant this story is today and how people still need to be educated about the horrible effects hatred, racism and discrimination can have on a society.”

Not only will the performance of The Diary of Anne Frank be educational, but it will open the audience’s hearts and eyes to real-life events. “I think too often the images we see of the Holocaust desensitize people to how truly horrifying this chapter in history was. … This play, and Anne’s diary, puts a real voice and a real face to those often surreal black and white images of silent, emaciated bodies walking around the death camps or heaped onto piles in mass graves,” said Caliva.

“My hope is to ‘humanize’ the countless victims who endured the atrocities of the Nazi Party and to give the audience a deeper understanding of what it must have been like to live through that nightmare.”

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