By Cristin Ross
Relive history with Lon Morris College Theatre’s presentation of “And Then They Came For Me ... Remembering the World of Anne Frank.”
Written by James Still, the play not only preserves the story of Anne Frank and her family, it also teaches a powerful lesson, according to director Denise Weatherly-Green.
“This is a play — not a ‘Holocaust play’ — but a play about people who lived during the Holocaust,” writer James Still said in a released published by the college theater program.
Weatherly-Green said,“It’s a very powerfully poignant piece. It moves people to want to change.”
Anne Frank’s story, gleaned from the diary she’d kept while she and her family were hiding from the Nazis during World War II, is complemented by the videotaped memoirs of Holocaust survivors Eva Schloss and Ed Silverberg.
Silverberg was Anne Frank’s first boyfriend — she even wrote about him in her now-famous diary.
Schloss, the same age as Anne, lived in the same apartment building in Amsterdam. Like the Franks, the Schloss family also went into hiding, were betrayed and sent to the concentration camps. Schloss and her mother survived and after the war her mother married Anne’s father, Otto Frank.
“It is my hope that the publication of this moving play will enable an ever-growing audience the world over to carry on the memory of Anne Frank. It is, after all, the next generation that must keep alive the knowledge of this dark episode in human history, so that it may never be repeated,” said Ed Silverberg.
But it wasn’t Weatherly-Green’s first choice for the college’s spring play.
“I had originally chosen Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” but my son, who’s in middle school, was learning about the Holocaust at the same time,” Weatherly-Green said. “I found the play with a friend while we were doing some research, and the uniqueness of the piece appealed to me.”
While researching the play, Weatherly-Green said she found and read Eva Schloss’s autobiography.
“That was the most powerful reading experience I’ve ever had,” she said. “That’s what really moved me to do this show.”
Weatherly-Green said her cast has really stepped up to the plate for this production.
“I have a truly exceptional group of students,” she said. “The biggest challenge we faced is that they’re not only playing real-life people, those people are actually on the stage with us.”
Christine Haddad, a 2007 Jacksonville High School graduate, stars as Anne Frank. Haddad is the daughter of Julian and Esmeralda Haddad of Jacksonville. Jacksonville resident John Langford is also part of the cast.
Weatherly-Green said cast member Viola Glink is a native of Germany and helped get other cast members comfortable with the German pronunciation of some of their lines.
Cast and crew also includes Josh Moore, Jake Taylor and Rachel Flores of Palestine, Steven Toschlog and James Hickman of Snook, Tamara Draper of Henderson, Stormy Philpot of Waskom, Grace-Nelly Tshitoko of Dallas, Colin Chavez of Zavalla, Alicia Hernandez of Rusk, Kimberly Welch of Deer Park, Chap Torian of Brownwood, Ashley Robertson of Liberty City, John LuPau of Mount Enterprise, Jasmine Giles of Missouri City, Netera Pratt of Bullard, Casey Martin of Houston and Leslie Turner of Lufkin.
LMC’s music director Charles Davis has composed an original score to accompany the production.
The play will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday in the Zula Pearson Theater at Lon Morris College. Matinees are at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $5. High school matinee tickets are available for $2, by reservation only for Monday and Tuesday, March 4, shows.
To reserve tickets, call the LMC box office at 903-589-4084 or George Boyd’s office at 903-589-4087.
By Cristin Ross