Faces in the Crowd

Laguna Blanca Stages a New Version of the Anne Frank Story

by Spencer Klavan

Anne Frank. Ever since her diary was published in 1947, the
world has looked upon that name as a symbol of tragedy and hope, of
fear and redemption. Her story, one of a bright, vivacious, and
terrified girl hiding from an impossibly horrific world, has
captured and broken the hearts of millions. Her diaries have been
published in more than 50 languages, and in 1955 they were made
into a successful play. Now Anne Frank’s tale is coming to Laguna
Blanca School in a way it has never been seen or heard before. Not
since the Broadway success of Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett’s
1955 play version of the Diary of Anne Frank has there been an
entirely new dramatic rendition of Frank’s memoir.

anne_frank.jpgWritten by James Still, And Then They
Came for Me attempts to bring Anne Frank’s diary fully into the
21st century for the benefit of another generation of people. It
adds to the original drama material concerning Frank’s relations,
love interests, and dearest friends. It details the lives of those
who came into contact with her for a few brief moments before their
world was turned upside-down. Director Peter McCorkle and his cast
of 16 are thus setting out to tell the story of Anne Frank onstage
in a new way.

Another way in which this show differs from the sparse 1955
version is that And Then They Came for Me is a multimedia
experience, incorporating video footage of Eva Geiringer Schloss,
Anne’s good friend, and Helmuth Silberberg, her crush and love
interest, as they are today. As Eva and Helmuth (who has since
changed his name to Ed) tell their stories, their youthful
counterparts emerge onstage and embody the action. The performance
is augmented with a new musical score, played continuously.

Anne is played by sophomore Melina Hayum, who debuted in last
year’s musical tragedy, Blood Brothers. Melissa Schmitt is Eva and
Mitchell Bogatz is Helmuth. Kameron Tarlow plays Eva’s sensitive,
talented, and ill-fated brother, Heinz, while Spencer Klavan and
Joanna Bourrain portray Anne’s parents. Christian Handley and
Felicia Palmer appear as Helmuth’s father and mother.

Of course, no show as technological and complex as And Then They
Came for Me would be complete without its tech crew. Ashton Krebs
and senior Colin Mattingly will handle the lights and music, both
of which are full-time jobs in a show this technically complex.
Assisting them will be the entire Laguna Blanca Theatre II
class.

So it seems certain that Laguna is set to deliver another
heart-wrencher. At 7 p.m. on November 15, the Spaulding Auditorium
doors will open to the poignant and touching world of Anne Frank,
in a way few have ever experienced. Santa Barbara will be shocked,
captivated, and enthralled by And Then They Came for Me, which
Judith Klein of the Jewish Journal said “struck me as no production
of The Diary of Anne Frank ever has.”

4•1•1 Laguna Blanca’s production
of And Then They Came for Me runs from Wednesday, November 15 to
Sunday, November 19. Showtimes are at 7 p.m., with the Sunday show
at 2 p.m. Spaulding Auditorium, Laguna Blanca School, 4125 Paloma
Drive. Tickets are $10 at the door. For more information call
687-2461.

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