Dramatic version of classic diary opens in WHS Black Box Theatre Feb. 27

Unlike the main stage, the Black Box Theatre at Wilsonville High School is a small space. And it’s perfect for intimate, small-scale productions like “The Diary of Anne Frank,” the latest offering from Wilsonville High School’s theater department.

by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - The Diary of Anne Frank, starring freshman Hayden Wilde in the title role, opens in the WHS Black Box Theatre Feb. 27.Like the historical diary it is adapted from, the theatrical version of “Anne Frank” tells the story of a young girl living in occupied Holland during World War II. Forced to wear the Star of David on her clothing to identify them as Jews, the Frank family’s situation deteriorates under Nazi persecution, and the family eventually goes into hiding.

The production opens Feb. 27 with a 7 p.m. show. at the Black Box Theater adjacent to the main auditorium at Wilsonville High School, 6800 SW Wilsonville Road. Additional performances will be presented Feb. 27, Feb. 28, March 1 and March 6 at 7 p.m., with a matinee at 2 p.m. March 8.

“The Diary of Anne Frank” is world famous, and focuses on the two years the Frank family spent in hiding in the Netherlands, before they and their companions were discovered by the Nazi occupiers and sent to concentration camps. Anne’s father, Otto Frank, was the only member of the family to survive the ordeal.

“In a small space like our Black Box Theatre, you have the ability to be very quiet as an actor and still be heard, which in this play is important because it is all about people in hiding,” director Jason Katz said. “As an audience member, I feel you have the ability to forget that you are watching a play — which is what you want for a play like this.”

by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Hayden Wilde and Aaron Gilbert play Anne Frank and Peter Van Daan, two young people living in hiding during World War II.Onstage, freshman Hayden Wilde portrays Anne as she struggles to adapt to living in cramped conditions in a secret annex with her companions in hiding. As the play opens, Anne is an excitable 13-year-old child. As it unfolds, she grows into a young woman full of hopes, dreams and a realistic, forgiving attitude toward life.

“Anne Frank to me has always been a huge inspiration and I have so much respect for her,” Wilde said. “To be able to play this part has been such an honor to me. ... I do feel a big responsibility to do her justice and to portray Anne as she really was.

“To draw the audience members in and to make them care about Anne, I really feel that the truer I can be ... is what really is going to make people become attached to her and to her life,” she said. “The same can be said with the other characters in the play. Because they were real people you don’t need to overact the part, but simply become the part.”

by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Senior Delane Cunningham plays Mrs. Frank and junior Cameron Worth plays Mr. Frank in the WHS production of The Diary of Anne Frank. The cast includes Madison Pintar as the vain Mrs. Van Daan, Daniel McKennie as Mr. Van Daan and Steve Prescott as Mr. Dussel. Part of Anne’s transformation has to do with Peter Van Daan, an introspective 16-year-old played by senior Aaron Gilbert. Peter and Anne’s relationship develops over two years in hiding, but their relationship is cut short before it fully develops.

Other cast members are Cameron Worth as Anne’s father, Delane Cunningham as her mother and Izzy Ochocki as her sister. Paige Patterson and Andy Williams portray Miep Gies and Mr. Kraler, the families’ Dutch protectors who bring them food and news while they wait for the war to end.

by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Madison Pintar, Daniel McKennie and Steve Prescott portray characters in hiding with the Frank family. “The play has universal appeal,” Katz said. “Anne has become an inspiration to so many people because she speaks the truth about herself and her life so clearly and honestly. She lived during a terrible time, but she also had tremendous self-awareness and had the ability to put it in perspective. She was very wise for her age, and her message — that it is possible to remain hopeful in the face of evil — transcends time, races, cultures.”by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - 'The Diary of Anne Frank' opens Feb. 27 in Wilsonville High School's Black Box Theatre.

For the Feb. 27 premier and additional shows you can purchase tickets online at or at the box office the night of the show. Tic kets are $8 for students and $10 for adults and the box office now accepts cash, checks, debit and credit cards.

Because the intimate setting limits seating, advance purchase is recommended.

By Kate Hoots
Education reporter
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