Valley Center Community Theater (VCCT) will host Edith Frank Remembers: A visit with Anne Frank's Mother April 5 & 6 at Valley Center Community Church.
Shari Lyon brings her one-woman show, Edith Frank Remembers: A visit with Anne Frank's Mother to VCCT. Written and performed by Lyon, the play dramatizes the experience of life in the Secret Annex during World War II as eight Jews hide from the Nazis.
Edith Frank Remembers is a poignant 50-minute performance for all ages. Audience interaction is encouraged at the end of the performance when "Edith" will answer questions about her experiences and life.
Lyon was recently interviewed about the production.
Q: Do you remember your first feelings when you learned about Edith Frank and her family?
A: YES! When I was about 10 years old I read The Diary of Anne Frank for the first time and was moved deep within by her words, her story and the horrors humanity went through and was capable of during World War II. I read the diary several times and soon bought Anne Frank's collected works. It was hard for me to believe that human beings could do such things to other human beings.
Q: What Inspired you to create a stage play based off of the Frank Family?
A: Middle school students really inspired me. I went to visit the classes of a friend of mine as Edith Frank and they wanted to stay during their lunch hour to talk more with her. I realized there was a void within them and their generation of American young people that had to be filled. I felt that I must do what I could to fill that informational void and bond these young people to what happened during this dark period in our human history in hopes that they would actively work to prevent any repetition of such horrors.
Q: Do you think this story most touches adults, children or both?
I think this story touches adults and children, but not equally. Young people have a powerful sense of idealism, a propensity for human sympathy/empathy that propels them into action. Adults have a prior knowledge about the horrible holocaust years that the younger ones don't – some are even a bit jaded about what happened, but when they are reminded while in the presence of the young people, their knowledge plus all the emotions and call them into action (from their younger counterparts) and their sympathies and desire to work for a better, kinder world are reignited. That's why I love sharing Edith with multiple ages together. It makes for an astounding feeling of hope, love and commitment in the room that is palpable.
Q: What are some of the most important things you would like the audience to get from the Edith Frank Remembers experience?
A: It seems that the most important message to take from the experience of the play is that these things really did happen and that unless we remember them, we tend to forget the lessons inherent in them. We must, therefore, remember the lesson which is that we must do our part as individuals and as part of groups to perpetuate the good we see and to right the wrongs we see – big or small – to make the world a kinder, gentler place. If not now, when? The atrocities are still going on a smaller scale than those during WWII, but they are still going on. Human beings need to take care of one another not take advantage of or hurt one another.
Performances will be at Valley Center Community Church, at 29105 Valley Center Rd. Performance times are 7 p.m. both days, with an additional matinee on Saturday April 6 at 2 p.m. Tickets will be $5 per person at the door. This production is a fundraiser for VCCT. Proceeds will go to a scholarship fund to help with cast fees for future productions. Visit VCCT.org for more information.