The Westport CT Country Playhouse is putting on a production of The Diary of Anne Frank along with a series of events intended to remind theater-goers and neighbors of the details of that genocide. One of the events features Lawrence Langer, whom I admire very much. Here's a blurb from an emailed newsletter:
Concurrent with the production of The Diary of Anne Frank, Westport Country Playhouse presents an unprecedented series of lectures, film-screenings, talkbacks, art exhibits and panel discussions designed to provide a wider context in which to access the life of Anne Frank, the Holocaust, genocide and issues of social justice. Join an important conversation with influential scholars, artists, advocates for human rights, educators, documentarians and eyewitnesses as they shed light on a broad spectrum of fascinating subjects. These programs, the fruit of partnerships with sixteen community organizations, offer something for every interest, and will enhance your understanding and appreciation of one of the most urgent stories of the twentieth century.
But then there's this among the associated events:
Making Diaries: A Family Workshop Based on The Diary of Anne Frank
Friday, October 8
Westport Arts Center
Join Molly Ephraim, the actress who plays Anne Frank, as she recites Anne's powerful words, and then create your own story in a mixed-media diary using a range of innovative art materials.
I'm sure I deserve some flack for being impatient with this, but...come on. Maybe it's the pink tartan snap-closed diary that's setting me off. But really. If there are ways to engage children aged 6 through 12 on the topic of the Holocaust (and I have my doubts, as I've said here in this blog in various ways), making your own "mixed-media diary using a range of innovative materials" is certainly not it. I rather think it's appropriate even for a family-oriented theatrical center to say: In this one instance, we suggest that you leave the children at home. A friend, in pointing out this session, acidly observed: "They get points for trying to shake up the Westport cocktail ice cubes with some Holocaust Awareness this Fall, but check out session with the Anne actress who will help you do your own diary--presumably with the fetching pink tartan plaid fashion cover! Had Anne just had a nice diary cover like this no doubt it would have eased her suffering."