Beyond The diary of Anne Frank : American Holocaust drama / by Carol Lee Worden
Includes bibliographical references (p. 255-275)
- External Link
Electronic version from ProQuest
More than a half century after the evils of Adolph Hitler hate groups still make headlines in America and throughout the world. Holocaust denial and genocide continue, and as artists it is important to face social and political realities. How we confront the past may well affect how we address events in the present and future. This study will examine and look beyond the most popular Holocaust play and suggest three alternative theatrical attempts to deal with the subject of the Holocaust. Theoretically I will follow Michel de Certeau's observations with regard to spatial practices. The plays included in this study are The Diary of Anne Frank, adapted by Wendy Kesselman from Goodrich and Hackett, The Grey Zone, by Tim Blake Nelson, The Gate of Heaven, by Lane Nishikawa and Victor Talmedge, and Degenerate Art, by the Irondale Ensemble. These productions offer four different ways to relate events of the Holocaust. The first play is naturalistic/melodrama, the second, examining the Sonderkommandos, is “slice of life/death,” whereas the third play is a multi-cultural attempt at dealing with the Holocaust and the Internment of Japanese-Americans. The final play utilizes Holocaust laughter via cabaret and post-modern techniques to combine past and present political events surrounding issues of “degenerate” art. Terrance Des Pres's essay on Holocaust laughter, provides the theoretical basis for this chapter.In the hands of an able director and production team aware of the difficulties of representation of the Holocaust, all four plays are viable treatments of artistic witnessing, depending on the audience to be addressed. I suggest, however, that we need to move beyond the monumental play The Diary of Anne Frank and encourage new dramatic treatment of the Holocaust. I believe the Holocaust has to be addressed at many levels and to many audiences, as often as possible. Holocaust studies is a relatively new field of inquiry. Drama is as old as story-telling. This study is written with the belief that we need to keep telling the story of the Holocaust.
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