Sunday, 28 August 2016
THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK, by Grigori Frid.
About Turn Theatre Company, directed by SEBASTIAN UKENA
Singer POLLY OTT (shared with VERA HILTBRUNNER)
Pianist STAVROULA THOMA
This opera based on the Diary of Anne Frank is a very sparse staging by director SEBASTIAN UKENA.
One woman (POLLY OTT when I saw it, she shared the role with VERA HILTBRUNNER) sings the role of Anne Frank, starting on her 13th birthday, which is when she gets the diary.
When it opens, she and her family cannot guess the fate that is in store for them, and so the first scene is a happy young girl, just emerging from childhood, enthusing over her lovely birthday presents. The change from the happiness and security of childhood to insecurity, fear, and finally going into hiding, is movingly depicted in the music of GRIGORI FRID, which is more than an 'accompaniment;. but music as an integral part of the drama, depicting the emotions that words can't quite accomplish (so Wagnerian in effect, if not in scale!!) The piano was played by the excellent and talented STAVROULA THOMA.
Anne's experience is tied up with all the varied and turbulent emotions of adolescence, and leads to a heart-rending scene in which she prays almost inaudibly for help, or perhaps just the strength and courage to continue. Then this is followed by a comic scene in which she narrates a quarrel between the Van Daans, the other couple sharing their hideout. No-one was a saint, and the pressures of living like this must have been incredible, but she manages to extract humour from this situation.
It is the story of one young girl who never survived into adulthood, as the voice of a generation of victims and sufferers, and during the performance she fills the stage with photographs of other victims of oppression and persecution. Anne never lost her faith in the basic goodness of humanity, though, in spite of everything.