The Diary of Anne Frank offers important lessons for today

The Diary of Anne Frank offers important lessons for today The recent terrorist attacks on America bring renewed relevance and poignancy to the upcoming opening of USD Theatre's production of The Diary of Anne Frank, a dramatization of a young girl's perspective of the holocaust.

USD Theatre will open The Diary of Anne Frank, by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, Oct. 3 at 8 p.m. in the Wayne S. Knutson Theatre. This version of the award-winning play is adapted by Wendy Kesselman and includes some writings from Frank's diary that are new to the stage play.

Frank's diary, written between 1942 and 1944 when Frank was 13 to 15 years old, tells the story of eight people who are hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam during World War II. Told from the point of view of a gifted and spirited young girl, the diary is filled with humor and pain as Frank tries to maintain her belief in the general goodness of humanity while the world around her crumbles.

Frank's optimism, tolerance, courage and hope have helped to make the diary a widely read document about Nazi crimes while also making Frank one of the best known figures of the past century.

Christine Bennett, Sioux Falls, a senior and veteran of the USD stage, plays Frank while Jesse Jensen, Aberdeen, and Colleen MacLaren Marsh, Sioux Falls, assume the roles of her parents, Otto and Edith Frank. Margot Frank, Anne's sister, is played by freshman Leesa Bendt, Sioux Falls.

Others who are hiding include Mr. and Mrs. Van Daan, played by Tyler Swank, Rapid City, and Sarah Loeber, Millsboro, DE. Allen Goodroad, Sioux Falls, becomes a figure of romantic interest to Frank in the role of Peter Van Daan, while Patrick Pope, Sioux Falls, assumes the role of Mr. Dussel, a dentist.

Outside assistance is provided to those in hiding by Miep Gies and Mr. Kraler who are played by Sarah Bauer, Rapid City, and Chris Zeig, Sioux Falls. Trent Kielty, Yankton, Nick Zeig and Ryan Daggitt, both of Sioux Falls, portray Nazi officers.

Ronald L. Moyer, chair of the department of theatre, directs the action with scenic designed by professor Tim Case. Graduate students Michelle Davidson and April Scott design the costumes and lighting, respectively, while Dennis Chandler coordinates the sound design.

Performances of The Diary of Anne Frank continue Oct. 4-6 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 7 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for senior citizens (62+) and youth (high school and below). For reservations call the USD Theatre box office at (605) 677-5400.

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