|Laurel Stroud as Mrs. Frank overlooking Amy Cassell as daughter Anne (seated) in a rare happy mother-daughter moment|
PHOTO by Jan Cartwright
In The Diary of Anne Frank, one of the central relationships is between Anne and her mother Edith. Anne is just entering her teenage years, and like many teens, the mother-daughter dynamic can be an emotional rollercoaster. In the Farmington Players’ production of Anne Frank, Laurel Stroud plays Mrs. Frank. Laurel “can relate to Mrs. Frank and Anne's bumpy relationship. I often feel that the people around me don't understand me.”
Laurel also connects with Mrs. Frank’s feelings of displacement: “Before the war, her life had always been very comfortable, and I think living in the annex was a shock to her system. Her manners and upbringing keep her from venting her feelings, making her feel caged emotionally as well as physically. I like playing her because although I have thankfully never been confined geographically, I have felt pressure to ‘mind my manners’ at all times. The acting challenges come from the confined space of the set. There are eight of us in an intentionally small space. There really is nowhere to go.”
Laurel re-read Anne’s diary to prepare for her role, saying, “It helped me focus on the family, on Anne and her personal experience. I wanted to be a part of this important and relevant story. It is important that we keep Anne's story alive, keep her famous.” Laurel believes that Anne’s story still resonates today: “At its core, this is a story about a young girl who refuses to lose hope. Her willingness to dream of the future in the midst of horror encourages all of us to do the same. The show is especially relevant today as we are still and again exposed to the voices of those who would discriminate against people who are not like themselves. The play is a reminder of why we can't let those voices prevail.”
Laurel lives in Redford and loves to cook, bake, and garden. She is active at Christ Church in Redford and works for Lone Buffalo where she helps edit the clipsheet for Ford Motor Company. Laurel is a recent winner of the Barn’s Torchbearer award and CTAM’s volunteer service award.
The Farmington Players production of The Diary of Anne Frank is proudly sponsored by Weinstein Jewelers. The show includes 12 performances from February 12 – March 5. Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by contacting the Barn box office at email@example.com or 248-553-2955.