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Nutz 'n' Boltz stages classic Holocaust drama

'The Diary of Anne Frank' opens Friday, Nov. 7

The numbers boggle the mind — 6 million, some say as many as 7million, Jews perished at the hands of the Nazis before and during World War II.

The Nazis killed an additional 5 million civilians in concentration camps and other areas, including Gypsies, gays, priests, ministers, Poles, communists, Jehovah's Witnesses and people with disabilities.

It’s a tragedy so large it takes the story of a single family to truly bring home the terrifying nature of what happened — and that story is “The Diary of Anne Frank,” the true tale of a Dutch Jewish family’s attempt to escape the Nazis by hiding out in the attic of an Amsterdam home.

Eventually betrayed to their enemies, most of the family were killed or died, including Anne who was 15 years old when she died from typhus in Bergen-Belsen, a few weeks’ shy of the concentration camp’s liberation by the British.

Clackamas resident Rae Taylor, 14, plays the lead character in “The Diary of Anne Frank,” at Nutz ’n’ Boltz Theatre, 27861 Grange St., Boring.

“I read her diary last year for school, so I was already familiar with the story, but being in the play really brought it to life for me,” Taylor says. “It is awful what she went through and sometimes you forget that it really happened because it's just so horrible.”

The play will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 7-23. Tickets are $8 for teachers, law enforcement; $10 for seniors and children, and $12 for adults. For more information, call 503-593-1295, or visit nnbtheater.com.

Teen's tale

Taylor has been on stage before but says this is her first lead role.

“It is such a privilege to have the opportunity to have such an amazing part in such a wonderful production,” she says, adding it’s not without its challenges.

“For me, the hardest part about playing Anne is that she was a real person, which I find is a little intimidating. You want to be true to her, and you don't want to mess it up.”

On that note, Taylor says she’s reflected on the dangers Frank faced.

“I think being able to write down her feelings helped her a lot,” Taylor says. “Also, later on, being able to talk to (her fellow hideaway) Peter. Overall, she was just a very strong and determined young teenage girl.”Photo Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Rae Taylor plays the lead character in The Diary of Anne Frank, based on the book of same name discovered after Frank perished in the Holocaust.

As the play highlights the anti-Semitism that fueled the Nazis’ murder machine, it has made Taylor think of current events with similar tragic overtones, she says.

“One thing that comes to mind is how in the Middle East, ISIS is capturing and killing hundreds of people because of religious differences,” she says, referring to the armed group’s execution of Christians, Druze and others for refusing to convert to Islam.

Director’s take

Kelly Lazenby directs “Anne Frank” and says the play serves an important role.

“I wanted more young people to see this play, especially with so many of our World War II veterans now gone,” she says. “This play is a good one to revive. This has a relevant message about fear and intolerance and teaches everyone a gentle lesson about family and forgiveness.”

Taylor adds that despite the play’s air of tragedy, it’s has “fun, lighthearted, laughable moments” as well.

“Overall it is an inspiring story of a girl who went through so much and yet kept a positive outlook on life,” she says.

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