The numbers are almost inconceivable. Less than 75 years ago, between 5 and 6 million Jewish people were killed by Nazis during the Holocaust. Less than 75 years ago, the world did not want to believe the full scope of the atrocities that were taking place in Europe under the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler.
The cast and production team of “And Then They Came for Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank” by James Still, a West Shore Community College production being staged October 25 – 28 in the Center Stage Theater, feels a sense of urgency to keep alive the stories told by survivors.
This production follows the lives of two real life Holocaust survivors, Eva Schloss and Ed Silverberg, both of whom had a personal connection to Anne Frank, who became known by the world for writing her infamous diary which was discovered by her father after her death in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
The show uses video footage of actual interviews with Schloss and Silverberg recounting details of the days leading up to the Holocaust and time spent in concentration camps, or constantly fleeing to avoid being captured, in conjunction with actors recreating pivotal moments on stage.
“The playwright, James Still, has done this seamlessly which makes this production so powerful and real,” said director Michelle Kiessel.
WSCC theater scholarship students, Erin Thibault and Caleb Duran, portray Eva and Ed as teenagers, while WSCC student, Faith Dyga takes on the role of the iconic Anne Frank.
“I have been taken aback by the maturity of these young actors and their willingness to tackle these difficult roles and put themselves into unimaginable situations. This is not a Holocaust play. This is a play about real people who survived the Holocaust and all of the actors take that seriously,” Kiessel continued.
Rounding out the dedicated and talented cast are local community actors Kara Rose, Joe Clark, Sean Gilbert, and Carlos Ortega, WSCC student Abby Poirier, and Ludington High School freshman, Ian VanHouten.
Kiessel went on to say that the show was written with middle school and high school audiences in mind. She stated that although the subject matter is disturbing, the show seeks to educate and start conversations about morality and the forces that drive human beings to sometimes do horrific things.
“It’s also about the human spirit and the will to live and retain your humanity even under the most inhumane circumstances.”
In an effort for this production to reach as many people as possible, free tickets will be offered to middle school, high school, and WSCC students for the Thursday, October 25 and Friday, October 26 performances.
“We hope this will remove financial barriers and make this show accessible for young people who want and need to see this important story,” Kiessel added.
Free tickets may be obtained at the door or by calling the WSCC box office at (231) 843-5507.
To purchase general admission tickets, visit the college’s web site or call or stop by the box office located in Schoenherr Campus Center. Visa, Master Card, Discover credit cards are accepted.
Show dates and times are October 25 – 27 at 7:30 p.m. and October 28 at 2 p.m.