FOR EDUCATORS AND TEACHERS WITH QUESTIONS ABOUT THE SCRIPT
Be Theatre Artistic Director answers questions about content in play.
After the rating of PG-13, we have a content warning letting our audiences know that this play has mention of the affects of the Holocaust, discussion of war, religious and political discord, and Anne's own teenage "self awareness" or in a sense... sexual awkening. I wanted to address the most common question I am getting from parents and educators.
"What does Self awareness or sexual awakening mean, and what does it have to do with this play"?
We feel to protect the integrity of the show, we must present it as Anne's written words in her journal. In the play and in the book (revised version) there is a monologue spoken by Anne that is taken straight from Anne Frank's journal. It is one paragraph where Anne is speaking about her feelings fro Peter, and her adoration of the female body. For example, Anne talks about enjoying "looking at the nudes in my art history books," Venus in particular. She explains how she is growing up, she is discovering feelings she has never experienced, and not only does she have intense feelings for Peter (who lives with them in the Annex) she also has had a strong desire to kiss her best friend, a girl. She talks briefly(and with alot of truth and honesty) about laying in bed at night and thinking about both of these things.
The overall impact of the play, and letting our youth see that this young girl and her feelings were normal, is important to us at Be Theatre. Too often we hide normal realities of growing up from young people and in turn, they feel shame. We made a decision when we decided to present this play that we would not edit the script, as we felt is dishonored the writer of the play and Anne Frank and we would be walking a fine line of censorship that we do not want to walk.
As a mother of 3 teenagers and an educator for all ages, the more concerning information for young audiences to understand is the atrocities of the Holocaust, where millions were slaughtered, raped, forced into labor, starved and subjected to painful laboratory testing (just to name a few). So while I understand the concern for the term "self awakening" I hope this information is helpful in clearing up how it is presented in this production. Which is, that of a normal young girl letting herself truly feel what her changing body is bringing to her mind and heart.
Our intent is to honor not only the integrity of theatre, but more importantly, the integrity of Anne Frank and the millions who died at the hands of prejudice.