When the University of North Texas puts on its production of The Diary of Anne Frank, the actors won't hear the audience clap. They won't even see one another in person. The play was produced entirely over Zoom.
"I actually did it over in my dining room," Katie Eucher, who plays Anne Frank, said. "They never met in real life, " Director Andy Harris said of the actors in the play. "The challenges for us were considerable because of the pandemic."
Harris had planned for more than a year to stage the play, then the pandemic hit. Though set during World War II, The Diary of Anne Frank has many themes that are familiar today.
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"With so many feelings about alienation, and hiding, and the Holocaust, and being threatened from the outside," Harris explained. "It really fits in with the times we're living in."
Blown-up black and white photos from a virtual tour of Anne Frank's house serve as the backdrops for the multi-location production. The inspiration came from Anne Frank's own words, and personal experience being at home due to the pandemic.
"She saw the world through such a positive light that it gives you hope in this world," Eucher said. "Especially during times like these."
Hope in the midst of despair is a theme that is timeless.
"You can overcome these obstacles and you can get beyond it," Harris said. "We did."
UNT"s Diary of Anne Frank is dedicated in memory of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, thanks to donors who made online access to the production free. It runs from October 15 through October 18.