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Susquehanna Students to Perform Gripping Story of Holocaust Victim

Published on September 9, 2010

SELINSGROVE —The Susquehanna University Department of Theatre will present “The Diary of Anne Frank,” directed by Associate Professor of Theatre W. Douglas Powers. The show is scheduled for Sept. 23 and 24 at 8 p.m., and Sept. 25 and 26 at both 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. in the university’s Degenstein Center Theater. Supplementing the Sept. 26 performances, also in the Degenstein Center Theater, is a free public lecture at 6 p.m. by acclaimed author Francine Prose, who will explore “Anne Frank’s Theatrical Afterlife.”

The new “Diary” adaptation by Wendy Kesselman, from the original stage play by Goodrich and Hackett, tells a contemporary, impassioned story of the lives of people persecuted under Nazi rule, and features both newly discovered writings from the diary of Anne Frank and accounts from Holocaust survivors.

Artistic director and Associate Professor of Theatre Doug Powers hopes to strip away the sentimentality that has attached itself to Frank’s story, according to theatre department publicity coordinator Shayna Freed. For him, this production is a personal challenge to re-create Anne Frank and the rest of the ensemble as real people, not symbols of the past. “Underneath historical events there is humanity; I think we forget that,” Powers said.

Novelist, essayist and reviewer Prose will speak to audiences about the legacy of Frank’s diary. In her recently published book, “Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife,” according to the website of publisher HarperCollins, “Prose thoroughly investigates the diary's unique afterlife: the obstacles and criticism Otto Frank faced in publishing his daughter's words; the controversy surrounding the diary's Broadway and film adaptations; and the claims of conspiracy theorists who have cried fraud, along with the scientific analysis that proved them wrong.”

Prose’s work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New Republic and the New York Times, and she was a finalist for the 2000 National Book Award. The lecture is sponsored by Susquehanna’s Jewish Studies Program, Holocaust/Genocide Studies Program, Department of Theatre, Department of English and Creative Writing, Office of the Chief Diversity Officer, and The Writers Institute.

Tickets for performances of “The Diary of Anne Frank” are $10 for adults and $8 for non-SU students, and can be purchased by visiting the university box office or calling 570-372-ARTS.



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