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Public invited to see performance of "Anne Frank"

September 29, 2018

HARLINGEN — Anne Frank was a vivacious, feisty young girl even while living in an attic.

Perhaps those qualities have enabled her to connect with millions of girls decades after her death in Nazi concentration camp in 1945.

That’s why Abigail Garza likes her.

“ I feel she was a real teenager at heart, and she had powerful words,” said Abigail, 12. “She’s an inspiration to me and my friends.”

Abigail, a Vela Middle School eighth grader, has been cast as Anne in the Harlingen Community Theatre’s production of “The Diary of Anne Frank.” The show opens tonight.

Anne Frank became famous throughout the world after her diary was published in dozens of languages. It details her experience hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam during World War II. She and seven other friends and relatives remained there for more than two years.

The Nazis discovered them in August 1944 and shipped them to concentration camps. They all died except for Anne’s father, Otto Frank, who published her diary in 1947.

“ This has been a favorite book of mine since I was in junior high myself,” said Kathy Eunice, director. “We haven’t done a true drama in a long time.”

She has wanted to direct the play for quite awhile, but she also wanted to wait until she found the “right Anne.”

“ Abigail started doing stuff with us in 2016 and she was too young,” Eunice said. “I directed her in some shows, other directors directed her, and the more I was around her I just felt that she was Anne.”

Abigail is fond of the book as well, so when a casting call came up she tried out for the part and of course she got it.

“ I wanted a girl who was very intuitive, who is a very intelligent girl like Anne was, and that she didn’t have to work hard at playing Anne because it would be her,” Eunice said.

The cast members have spent long hours preparing for the show.

“ The hardest part was getting the right emotions,” Abigail said. “I practiced in front of the mirror.”

Stephen Seale, who plays the role of Otto Frank, has enjoyed the challenge. Among other things it’s been a learning experience.

“ It’s probably the biggest role I have ever played,” said Seale, 39. “It’s an honor to play such a strong character.”

Eunice said rehearsals have proceeded well. Actors and actresses have persisted in their efforts to become their characters, bringing to life once again those lost so long ago.

twhitehead@valleystar.com

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