Part of the cast from The Diary of Anne Frank: Michalle Wooten (front left), Aaron Davis (back left), and Renee Mochel (center back).
Photo courtesy of Don Marshall.
by Karen Diefendorf
Most high school productions are performed three or four times, and then are remembered only by the participants or in the pages of the school annual. But The Diary of Anne Frank, presented over the past few months by Bellevue Christian High School, seems to have taken on a life of its own for both audiences and cast since opening night Nov. 16.
Most recently, the BCS drama department's production of the play, based on the diary of a young Jewish girl written while she and her family were hiding from the Germans, was chosen to be a major production at the invitational Washington State Thespians Convention, held at Woodinville High School Feb. 2 and 3.
The Bellevue Christian production has proved to be an incredibly emotional experience for both the teenage cast and the audiences. "Each of the students has been changed by the character he or she played," said Lowell Hagan, Bellevue Christian Drama Director.
They came to see the personal aspects of history, and how in both past and present, people's fears and prejudice can lead to hatred and suffering, Hagan said. He added that the cast members all understand now that "except for an accident of birth, there was no reason for the deaths of the characters in this play," Hagan said.
Michalle Wooten, daughter of Judy and Mike Wooten of Woodinville, played the part of Anne Frank. The 18-year-old senior continues to be active in speaking to school groups about the Holocaust and has become emotionally involved with the character she played, she said. She writes that the roles have become "human beings and best friends."
Sarah Ulrich, 14, a freshman from Carnation, played the role of Miep Gies, a 20-year-old member of the family that hid the Franks. A highlight for Sarah was a visit with Gies when the latter attended a performance of the play.
For 17-year-old Renee Mochel, daughter of Ronda and Clay Freeman of Duvall, the experience in the play was so emotional that she often wept on stage.
Aaron Davis, a senior at Bellevue Christian, said he felt the role of Peter brought the reality of the Holocaust closer. Instead of it being just a chapter in a history book, "We saw how it changed individual lives on a day-to-day basis," Davis said.