Two Holocaust survivors to visit: Lending authenticity to Mason County Eastern’s ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’

March 14, 2018 GMT

FOUNTAIN — Two survivors of the Holocaust will be special guests of the Mason County Eastern (MCE) School’s presentation of “The Diary of Anne Frank” this weekend.

The play will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and at 2 p.m. Sunday in the Sherman Township Hall in Fountain.

Holocaust survivor Irene Miller will be present at the three evening performances, while Irene Butter — who met Anne Frank briefly in a concentration camp — will attend Sunday’s matinee performance. Both will speak about their childhood ordeals and take part in question and answer sessions with their audiences.

Kayla Kessel, director of MCE productions and “The Diary of Anne Frank,” said she “... choose this play because I believe that this is a great learning experience for the school and community.”

“The middle school spends a semester studying the book that this play is based upon. I love the World War II era, and believe that there is much to learn and teach the students regarding the Holocaust.

“I have two lead characters with this play,” said Kessel. “Chelsea Gage (plays Anne Frank) and Darin Simmons (plays her father, Otto), whom are both seniors.”

“The Diary of Anne Frank” is Gage’s 10th play that she’s appeared in, and the third as a lead actress.

“This play is a lot more serious then any of the others,” said the 18-year-old student who will move on to Grand Valley State University after she graduates. “This play is on a whole different level. It would have been amazing to have talked to her (Anne Frank).

“I’ve read the book, and I’ve watched several different productions of the play on tape. I’ve seen the movies. It’s an unbelievable story.”

Gage said “The Diary of Anne Frank” delivers a powerful message to young people still today.

“The book tells us – and I would tell the young people of today – to look for the positive, even in the darkest of times,” said Gage.

The cast includes:

Anne Frank – Chelsea Gage, senior

Otto Frank – Darin Simmons, senior

Edith Frank – Crystal Davis, senior

Margot Frank – Kimberly Jackomino, senior

Mr. Van Daan – Matthew Gauthier, junior

Mrs. Van Daan – Jannes Avra, senior

Peter Van Daan – Kody Charron, 8th grade

Miep Gies – Alexzandria Matlock, 8th grade

Mr. Kraler – Kory Charron, 8th grade

Mr. Dussel – Will Gordon, freshman

Soldiers – Daniel Wolf, freshman, and Logan Miller, senior

Crew List

Lighting Manager – Daniel Wolf, freshman

Sound Manager – Trevor Oomen, 8th grade

Stage Manager – Dawn Jackomino, 9th grade

See the full story and photos in Tuesday’s Ludington Daily News print and e-Editions