|Connor Green as Peter Van Daan and Amy Cassell as Anne Frank share a tender moment|
PHOTO by Jan Cartwright
The Farmington Players production of The Diary of Anne Frank opens Friday February 12, with three shows over Valentine’s weekend. While everyone knows how the story ends, 19 year-old Connor Green of Farmington prefers instead to focus on the positive aspects of the play. As he says, “even under the threat of death and persecution, life as well as love can and will find a way to overcome any adversity.” Connor plays Peter Van Daan, the adolescent son of Hermann and Petronella Van Daan, played enthusiastically by Gary Weinstein and Nancy Cooper, respectively. Connor thinks this family dynamic will resonate with audiences. As he says, The Diary of Anne Frank is “a story about how unique and intricate families can be, how even when things are at their worst a silver lining can be found and joy can be had. There are even some simple things like how men and women really never will understand each other, so why don’t we just agree to disagree? And as long as you have family and people who love and care about you, nothing can get you down!”
Connor sees Peter as a complex and “incredibly interesting character, a boy making the transition to manhood (which is by itself a very complex and difficult time) thrust into hiding by forces who want him dead for what he believes in. Combine that with having almost no escape from his overbearing mother and paranoid jerk of a dad, as well as the mixed bag of the Frank family, and you have a character constantly being pulled in different directions, while not compromising who he is and the person he will become.” To play Peter convincingly, Connor strives to find “that boyish sense of curiosity; that wonder of what the future holds and how the world is yours for the taking” while never forgetting that Peter was “a real person with interests, dreams, and a unique and beautiful identity who had his life stolen by the Nazis.”
Connor wanted to make his Barn debut in The Diary of Anne Frank because he considers the Barn “an amazing place where people from all around can come together to portray amazing stories and powerful messages.” Despite his youthful exuberance, Connor also connects with the darker themes of the play, saying, “I mostly relate to the theme of isolation. Throughout my life I can recount many, many times where I felt completely and utterly alone with no escape. Like Peter and the rest of the Annex members, life can feel difficult to impossible if there is no escape from the same mundane life, no sentiment from the outside world, to feel utterly alone in this world can be the most horrendous feeling.”
In addition to theater, Connor loves to camp, hike, fish, bike, and play all kinds of adventure sports: “If it’s in the great outdoors don’t be surprised to find me there!” He is currently a student at Oakland Community College.
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.