|Amy Cassell contemplates her next diary entry as Anne Frank|
PHOTO by Jan Cartwright
Amy Cassell’s world travels have taken her far and wide, but she never expected that a visit to Amsterdam would prepare her so well for her first role at the Barn. Amy is playing Anne in Farmington Players’ production of The Diary of Anne Frank, and she previously visited the Frank house in Amsterdam. Amy says she can “actually picture the cramped living quarters. I remember seeing the bookcase and feeling especially confronted. That one piece of furniture was the last thing protecting them from an outside world that was hunting them. The terror they must have felt when they heard unidentified rattles outside it is almost unfathomable.”
Amy considers playing the role of Anne Frank an “incredible honor and challenge to portray and do justice to, just because of her contribution to society in her short life. What would she have done had she been allowed to live? The role is such a fantastic one because of Anne's growth throughout the play; you can see her maturing and really coming into her own, while maintaining that incredible vivacious energy. At the same time, it's a challenging development to portray with subtlety, but I'm so glad I have the opportunity to do it.” Like Anne, Amy was “a very energetic and creative child, so I can definitely relate to Anne's aversion to any form of stasis. However I was lucky enough to have freedom and a wealth of creative outlets, so I can only imagine the pain and immense frustration she must have felt in the suffocating annex.”
So what brought Amy to the Farmington Players? As she says, “I started researching them because I'd heard great things about the shows they put on and the people in the company. When I saw they were putting on The Diary of Anne Frank, I knew I wanted to be involved. I've always had a passion for history and this is such a classic and important story. It's such a powerful play, no matter how many times I've seen or read it, how many different ways it's interpreted, it still clutches at my heart. It never becomes less shocking, the atrocities that humans are capable of committing, and getting to know these families, and knowing how it all ends, it really hits home. I felt ready to take on the challenge of a play of this magnitude and I felt it was a very important production to be a part of.”
Amy enjoys the challenges of playing such a thematically dark show, but also believes that audiences will “enjoy being able to relate to the family dynamics and the adolescent experience that is portrayed,” including the humorous exchanges between Gary Weinstein and Nancy Cooper as Mr. and Mrs. Van Daan. Amy feels “the play will be relevant forever because of the themes of family and growing up, but also because history does repeat itself. I think it's important to always remember the Holocaust, especially as similar atrocities are occurring around the world right now.”
Amy is an Australian native, and in the past 18 months, she has backpacked around Europe and learned to ski in Banff, Canada, before moving to Michigan four months ago. She studied Journalism in college but now works as a Patient Advocate in a women’s clinic in Southfield.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 248-553-2955.