Even Mira Hirsch, first-time director at the Center for Puppetry Arts, admits to initially worrying about whether inanimate objects could carry the deeply emotional story.
But the performances featuring doll-like, delicately sculpted figures side by side with two actor/puppeteers, Jeffrey Hyman and Caitlin Roe, along with violinist Chip Epsten are moving audiences to tears.
First staged by the Center for Puppetry Arts in 2006, “Anne Frank: Within and Without” is getting a third production now through March 8.
The show is recommended for ages 12 and up, and post-show talkbacks take place after every performance. The talkbacks allow audience members to ask questions and share their thoughts about this poignant tribute to the famous diarist who kept a journal while stowed in a secret apartment behind her father’s business in German-occupied Amsterdam during World War II.
Using the elegant language of puppetry to illustrate one of the best-known stories of the Holocaust, the play, employing mostly table-top puppets, begins with Anne’s birth in Germany in 1929. It continues with Anne getting a red checkered diary for her 13th birthday on June 12, 1942. A few weeks later, Anne and her family go into hiding.
Anne’s words in her diary reveal remarkable insight, maturity and depth of feeling. With stinging poignancy, she also maintained a sense of optimism — all of which is captured through the beautifully rendered puppets we’ve come to expect at the Center for Puppetry Arts.
With the sounds of thunder and marching soldiers reverberating in the background, Anne speaks the following lines penned in the diary on July 15, 1944:
… it is utterly impossible for me to build my life on a foundation of chaos, suffering and death. I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness. I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too. I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more.
To read the full story, go to http://www.ajc.com/news/entertainment/arts-theater/center-for-puppetry-arts-show-is-poignant-tribute-/nkHN2/
“Anne Frank: Within and Without”
Through March 8. 11 a.m. Wednesdays-Thursdays; 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. Fridays; 8 p.m. Saturdays; 5 p.m. Sundays. $15 members; $25 nonmembers. (Tickets include museum admission and a post-show talkback.) Recommended for adults and viewers ages 12 and up. Center for Puppetry Arts, 1404 Spring St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-873-3391, http://www.puppet.org.