Hilltop Players recreate “Anne Frank”

5 years ago Triangle 0

The stage — set with an old wooden staircase, bunk beds and a strategically placed door — transformed around them and props were in hand as the Hilltop Players cast of “The Diary of Anne Frank” diligently rehearsed their lines and prepared for opening night.

The play details the story of young Anne Frank and her Jewish family who were forced into seclusion for two years during World War II to avoid becoming prisoners of a Nazi concentration camp.

The play opens on April 16, which is, appropriately enough, National Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Cast of "The Dairy of Anne Frank" / Photo by Jessalyn Pierce, Photo Editor
Cast of “The Dairy of Anne Frank” / Photo by Jessalyn Pierce, Photo Editor
Sophomore Rachel Liebert plays the lead role of diarist Frank and said that, at first, the role was “intimidating.”

“She was a real person, and people already have this idea of her in their minds,” Liebert said.

Each member of the cast practiced their cues and the specific nuances that each character brings under the direction of Bernie Belisle, assistant professor of communication studies, and assistant director senior Justin Jones.

“The Diary of Anne Frank” is Jones’ first time directing a production at Bryan.

“I’ve learned a lot about my directing style. I’ve stage managed before, but this is a lot different. It’s more of a creative, interactive process with the cast. I’ve been able to help them learn their acting styles and been able to tell them what I need to see from them,” he said.

Theatre newcomer sophomore Brandon Lawrence is eager to take that direction and make the theatre department proud.

Lawrence, who plays Mr. Dussel,  has had a smooth transition into his acting debut: he helped build the set for the production of “Rumors” earlier this semester and also helped with the set of “The Diary of Anne Frank.”

“My grandfather and father have done woodworking, so I picked it up from them,” Lawrence said.

Aside from his role in a first-grade play, he got his first taste of acting by practicing with fellow cast member Caleb Julin (Otto Frank) for a class. Lawrence said that he would rehearse a short amount of time with Julin compared to the daily three hour long rehearsals for the performance.

Lawrence hasn’t yet mastered every aspect of theatre life, however, even though he doesn’t mind the long hours. Liebert filled him in on what is termed “theatre etiquette” for those in the know.

“Mr. Belisle will say, ‘Okay, take five’ before a break, and you’re supposed to say ‘Thank you, five,” Lawrence said as Belisle called everyone back to their places.

In theatre circles, it’s a statement that acknowledges you heard the directions given.

According to Liebert, many of the lines contained in the play come from Frank’s own diary. Liebert said she read the diary first to learn more about Frank’s life and trials.

Her favorite part about Frank’s personality is her ability to be a “bright, optimistic light” despite the woes that she faced.

The play will be performed in Rudd Auditorium April 16-18 7:30-10 p.m. (BC Community $5, Adults $9). Tickets can be purchased in the Lion’s Pride Bookstore.