Park City High School students to perform ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’
Alexa Wilcox has been performing since she was a child and has played in several musicals, but the chance arose this spring to portray a different kind of role.
The Park City High School drama program is putting on a production of "The Diary of Anne Frank." Wilcox will play the titular character in the play, based on the real-life diary of a Jewish teenager whose family went into hiding during World War II in an attempt to elude the Nazis.
For Wilcox, stepping into the character of Anne Frank has been a new experience — one that’s pushed her into new and challenging territory on stage.
"It’s really hard because it’s such a sad story but Anne’s character isn’t like that at all," she said. "She’s a really upbeat character, so it’s really hard to try to find the balance between the two. You have to understand that it is so sad while having a lot of comedic lines. It’s a weird balance. But it’s cool."
Preparing for the play has had a similar effect on Wesley Marshall, who plays Otto Frank, Anne’s father. He, too, had mostly performed in musicals and comedies, and inhabiting his character has forced introspection and has given him a different outlook on his own life.
"It definitely is a challenge," he said. "It’s an experience almost unlike any other, because it’s putting yourself into the shoes of something that does go so deep. It really affects you as someone who is watching it and as someone who is performing. It’s been very interesting to learn about the character and to empathize with him."
Wilcox and Marshall said the rest of the cast has also dug deep to transform into their roles. As the production has neared, performances have been more natural. The cast has come to understand how their characters would react in a given situation.
"It’s been amazing," Marshall said. "I’ve done a lot of shows, and it’s always great to see people start to empathize with their characters. But with something like this, that is a story about real people and real experiences and real things they went through, it’s really kind of breathtaking to see people begin to fully understand these characters."
But portraying the emotional depth included in the script isn’t easy. Wilcox said she focuses on what the character would be thinking in the moment when she delivers her lines. Marshall has a similar process and follows the plot triggers of the script to put himself in the right frame of mind.
"It feels more natural because it is real stuff," he said. "It isn’t getting mad for no reason — it’s getting mad because someone just endangered your life. Even though you as a person haven’t been through those things, they’re experiences you can understand."
Park City High School’s production of "The Diary of Anne Frank" is set to run Thursday, April 28, through Saturday, April 30, in the Eccles Black Box Theatre. The performances on Thursday and Friday are scheduled for 7 p.m., while two performances Saturday are set for 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Tickets are $5 for students, $10 for adults and $25 for families.
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A district spokesperson said six students were removed from an area in the school as police conducted a search.