AMSTERDAM, Netherlands – The Diary of Anne Frank, the most widely read book on the Holocaust, which has been rewritten for plays, movies and TV dramas, is now being made into a Spanish musical.
On Friday, a theatre troupe visited the tiny Amsterdam apartment where the Jewish teenager hid from the Nazis, seeking inspiration for their characters and the show.
The Anne Frank Museum has endorsed the concept and guided the 22-member cast and directors through the space where the Frank family hid during the German occupation of the Netherlands in the Second World War.
“If you’re doing a musical of the family and how they lived and the house and everything, I think it’s very special, and a very important detail to come to this house,” said Isabella Castillo, 13, who plays the part of Anne Frank.
She said she was struck by the size of the apartment – even smaller than she imagined it.
Anne Frank kept her diary for 25 months while she and her family hid inside a “secret annex” atop a canal-side warehouse.
The family was betrayed and arrested in August 1944 and Anne Frank died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March 1945. Her diary was preserved and later published and has now been read by millions of people.
Her story might not seem a likely candidate for a musical, but Rafael Alvero, who developed the concept, said the show is inspirational, and comparable in mood to a tragic opera.
During the tour in the early morning hours before the museum opens to the public, actors wondered what happened to the Franks’ furniture.
Museum historian Menno Metselaar explained that after the Nazis raided the annex, Dutch collaborators cleaned it out and sold everything of value.
Anne’s father Otto Frank, who survived the war, felt that refurnishing the space would amount to falsifying history.
Practical reasons would prevent it anyway, Metselaar said: 1 million tourists visited the museum in 2007, and adding furniture to the tiny rooms would make it impassable.
– Source: Excerpted from a report by The Canadian Press, Jan. 4, 2008
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