Archive for September, 2016

The Diary of Anne Frank

So we went to see “The Diary of Anne Frank” at Olney Theatre Center on Friday.  Given our other experiences with Mark and theater (Godspell  and A Christmas Carol, for instance), I figured I’d better give him a plot summary beforehand.

Mark (listening with widening eyes):  “Are you sure this age appropriate?”

Me (in my head):  That’s a fair question, actually.  We didn’t take you to “Angels in America” last weekend, so what exactly makes the AIDS epidemic age-inappropriate but the Holocaust okay?   Context.  Handling.  Nobody’s naked on stage.  I’m not necessarily convincing myself. because that’s a lame bottom line.  But I say, “Yes.”

Mark:  “This doesn’t sound fun.  Theater is supposed to be fun.”

Me:  “Sometimes.  But sometimes theater is supposed to educate.”

Mark:  “Hmph.”

He’s okay through the first act.  At intermission he asks to go home:  “I don’t want to see this.  Theater is supposed to be fun.  This is NOT fun.”

Me:  “Theater is supposed to educate too.  Sometimes that means making us uncomfortable.”

Mark retorts:  “Well, it’s working then.”

It’s not helping Mark that Otto Frank is played by Paul Morella.  Mark is a Paul Morella groupie.  He insists on going to the one-man Christmas Carol every year and usually mouths along (silently, mostly) to his favorite parts:  “Marley was dead to begin with…”  Mark is just devastated by Otto Frank’s epilogue, made worse because his actor-hero seems so seriously unhappy.  His fists are clenched when the lights come up.  “I.  Am.  Going.  To.  Invent.  A. Time.  Machine.  And.  Stop.  This.”

Good job, theater.  Seriously.  The response to overwhelming injustice should be This should not have happened.  I want to keep it from happening.   But humans being what we are, it’s hard to get there with numbers.  We get there with stories.  Stories about individuals.

This, child, is why we’re here.

 

 

 

 

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