SUNY Fredonia theater production provides educational opportunity

Art and education will go hand-in-hand when the SUNY Fredonia Department of Theatre and Dance presents the Pulitzer Prize-winning play “The Diary of Anne Frank” in April.

The production, which is part of the 2012-13 Walter Gloor Mainstage Series, will be the center piece for the Department’s annual “Drama Day” for junior and senior high school students from area districts on April 17.

“The Diary of Anne Frank” will be directed by Jessica Hillman, an assistant professor with the Department of Theatre and Dance.

“The whole reason I wanted to do this show was for its educational value,” Hillman said.

The SUNY Fredonia production is based on Wendy Kesselman’s 1997 adaption of the Pulitzer Prize-winning work. The play tells the story of a Jewish family forced into hiding in an effort to avoid Nazi persecution during World War II through the diary entries of 13-year-old Anne Frank.

“The Holocaust was on a scale that is almost incomprehensible 11 million people (were killed),” Hillman said. “A story like this brings the events back to a human level people can relate to. I saw the play in college and it had a huge, huge impact on me.”

In addition to watching a performance of the play, students taking part in “Drama Day” will participate in workshop sessions on theater and Holocaust history.

Hillman explained students from the Department of Theatre and Dance will be partnering with the students from SUNY Fredonia College of Education to make the event possible. Students from both departments will work with the visiting junior and senior high students at various educational stations.

The cost of “Drama Day” is $10 per student. Reservations, which are on a first-come basis, are due by April 3. They may be made by contacting Department of Theatre and Dance secretary Lisa Schrantz by email at lisa.schrantz@fredonia.edu or by phone at 673-3596.

There will also be an educational aspect to the six public performances, which will take place between April 12 and 20 in Marvel Theatre in Rockefeller Arts Center on the SUNY Fredonia campus.

The theatre lobby will host an informational display and special notes will be included in the playbill. Student Maggie Gilroy is coordinating both as the dramaturge for the production.

Public performances will be presented on April 12, 13, 18, 19 and 20 at 7:30 p.m. with a matinee at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 14. Tickets are available through the SUNY Fredonia Ticket Office in the Williams Center (673-3501 or fredonia.edu/tickets.

For junior and senior high school students unable to attend “Drama Day,” the Department is offering a discounted $10 ticket for this production. They should use the special code DIARY2013 when ordering tickets.

“The Diary of Anne Frank” is sponsored by the M&T Bank as part of the Lake Shore Savings Season.