Becky Krause as Anne shows her new red shoes to her dad, played by Roy Sye, while Colleen Sinclair as Miep Geis enjoys the moment in a rehearsal of "Diary of Anne Frank" at Buffalo Grove High School.
Courtesy of Buffalo Grove High School
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Buffalo Grove High School director, Beth Wells, looked for ways to distinguish her production of "The Diary of Anne Frank," opening Thursday at the school, and she just may have found it, with a pit orchestra.
The 16 stringed instrument players -- on violin, viola, cello and the bass -- will add musical interpretation to accompany the haunting drama, similar to a movie score.
For example, whenever Anne delivers her monologue to the audience, the orchestra backs her up with the same selection from a piece written by Russian composer, Dimitri Shostakovich.
Likewise, whenever the Nazis speak or enter a scene, the orchestra plays from the second movement of the same piece, which is a more intense, angry sounding passage.
As it is, the 15 actors are working from Wendy Kesselman's Tony Award winning adaptation, that incorporates recently released entries from Anne's original diary, as well as excerpts from other Holocaust survivors' accounts.
Junior Becky Krause of Arlington Heights plays Anne Frank, and she finds herself having to portray the young teen's changes, both physical and emotional.
"It's a lot more intense than any other role I've played," Krause says. "In the beginning, she's younger and more naïve, and by the end she's sick and thin. And then there's her feelings. She goes through the whole emotional spectrum."
Last week, when the actors and orchestra members combined during their first rehearsal together, the result was dramatic, says Orchestra Director Elizabeth Magill.
"It was very exciting for the actors, it really helped them intensify their acting," Magill says.
Wells says she was looking for ways to involve students from throughout the fine arts department in the annual fall production.
Consequently, she tapped students to create a video montage to open the show, featuring photos of Anne Frank and her family, as well as other Holocaust victims and the concentration camps.
At the same time, the orchestra will play string quartet music actually composed by musicians while they were in the concentration camps, Magill adds.
Students working behind the scenes, with Technical Director, Charles Mahlman, created the set, designed from photos of the attic in Amsterdam where Anne and her family, along with four other family friends, hid for 25 months to escape from the Nazis.
"It's a newer adaptation, so I wanted to get all the art forms in there,"20Wells says. "It's just a different take on a story, that everyone knows."
In fact, Wells is so excited with the outcome, she has entered the production in the Illinois High School Theater Festival. Judges will be in the audience next weekend, considering it as a festival selection, and giving feedback to its actors.
If you go
What: "The Diary of Anne Frank" by Buffalo Grove High School
When: 7 p.m. Thursday Oct. 23, 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24, and 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25
Where: Buffalo Grove High School theater, 1100 W. Dundee Road, Buffalo Grove
Call: (847) 718-4000