hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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October 17, 2008

Local actors tell Anne Frank story

The story of Anne Frank, whose diary chronicled her family's hiding as the Nazis occupied the Netherlands during World War II, is one of the most well known stories around the world.

But for three Haverhill residents performing in the stage version of "The Diary of Anne Frank" with the Acting Out Theater Company in Lawrence, Anne's chronicle of life before being shipped to a concentration camp is an important story to tell.

"Any way the story can be told is a good thing. We can't have children growing up in the world not knowing what people went through during World War II," said Rob Fitzgerald, 41.

The play opens on Friday, Oct. 24, at 7:30 p.m. at The Stage, 60 Island St., Lawrence, next to the Essex Art Center. There are two more shows on Saturday, Oct. 25, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10.

The Acting Out Theater Company, a nonprofit corporation, performs about six professional shows a year and three company shows with its children's theater company.

In "The Diary of Anne Frank," Fitzgerald plays Mr. Van Daan, the patriarch of the family that hid with the Franks. He is joined on stage by fellow Haverhill residents Ariana Federo, 20, who plays Anne's sister, Margot Frank, and Michael Buckhout, 14, who plays Peter Van Daan.

The wide range of ages and experience in the Acting Out production has made for a great experience for the actors, who have all learned from each other as they came together as a cast.

"It's better working with people of all ages," Buckhout said.

"It feels more realistic," Federo said.

And working with this company has been drama-free for the actors, who playfully chatted before a recent dress rehearsal.

"It's my first experience with this group, and it's been going pretty smoothly," Fitzgerald said.

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