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The Franks try to hide at Los Al
The whole cast has a terrific focus and chemistry in Los Alamitos performance of The Diary of Anne Frank. The cast perfectly balances the sadness and playfulness The story starts off with the Frank family moving into hiding a secret compartment of Mr. Franks work, with Mr. Frank’s friends the Van Daans and their son Peter to hide from the dangerously changing world ruled by the Nazi’s, in which they live in. Anne Frank, played by Bianca Pompa is the youngest of the group. Pompa does a great job of executing her characters child like nature, and whenever the group seems to be down on their luck, she gives the whole cast energy. Ryan Rogers, who plays Mr. Frank, does not waver in his consistent fatherly demeanor and attributes. His fatherly nature can be clearly seen in a scene when Rogers comforts Pompa after her character Anne has a nightmare. Stella Thermos, who plays the older of the Franks two daughters, Margot Frank, has terrific character arc, as she transforms from a perfect example of obedience, to the end finally showing frustration. Evan Cusato who plays Peter Van Daan, plays a fantastic foil for Pompa, and their chemistry can be seen by all. Mr. Dussel, played by Keith Ahlstrom consistently gives a comedic relief with his sarcasm throughout the play. The Nazi’s do a good job of maintaining a high level of intimidation, and they show no sympathy for the Frank family. The mostly real detailed props add to the verisimilitude of the play. The lighting of the play being primarily by normal lamps adds to the effect of the set, and helps convince the audience that they are really there witnessing the Franks in their annex. The bright lights glowing though the whole set when the occupants of the annex are found out, allows the audience to feel the fear that the Franks and the Van Daans felt.
by Hayden Rahman of Brethren Christian High School
Los Alamitos High School’s Anne Frank
The tragic story of a girl, Anne Frank, living during World War II was captured on the stage of Los Alamitos High School, on November 14th.
The Diary of Anne Frank was written between 1942 and 1944 mostly while she lived in hiding from the Nazis. Her family lived along side another family, the Van Daans and a dentist named Mr. Dussel, in an abandoned part of an office building. They were helped by those living outside to get needed supplies.
The show illustrated Anne’s writings, while staying very true to the book. The actors brought life to the characters and carried themselves with the energy and moods appropriate to each person’s role. The play brought you through the joyful, tearful, and suspenseful moments of the people staying in the “Secret Annexe.”
Anne Frank played by, Bianca Pompa, was thirteen years old, when her family moved into hiding. Bianca’s performance was genuine and stayed constant throughout the play. She remained in character and always led her actions as the vivacious, young girl Anne was known to be.
The supporting cast was able to bring out their strong personalities without over shadowing Anne. Mr. Frank, played by, Ryan Rogers fulfilled his role as a loving father to Anne and Stella Thermos, playing Anne’s older sister, captured her character’s mood and carried herself very well. Travis Baker (Mr. Van Daan) embodied a confident character who was quirky and easily agitated. Keith Ahlstrom or Mr. Dussel gave an elaborate portrait of his character and carried his moods with sarcasm, worriedness, and bitterness. Mr. Dussel and Anne had contrary personalities and their annoyed banter played out on stage made it very believable. Nikki Law, played Mrs. Frank and shed a very patient, motherly light on her character, but reacted realistically to her atmosphere and Moira Scott presented Mrs. Van Daan’s passion in her well-characterized reactions and showed her love of the past by clinging to her few possessions.
The use of real food and water made the play seem more life-like and natural. The lighting from lamps was very effective and gave a homely mood to the set and the drastic change in lighting at the end raised the intensity in a very favorable way.
Over all, Los Alamitos High School presented a fantastic show and reminded many, of the world’s important and unforgettable history.
by Mary Deaton of Brethren Christian High School
The Diary Of Anne Frank comes alive in Los Alamitos
Anne Frank takes place in The Annex of Amsterdam in Holland during World War 2. The Frank family is being persecuted for being jewish therefore must go into hiding along with other jewish families. They spend 2 years living in a loft above where MR. Frank use to work being unable to leave or even goes outside. Eventually due to unfortunate circumstances, they are caught by the Nazi Police and forced into concentration camps. The beautifully crafted set made from wood paneling is used effectively by all of the actors. The lighting emphasizes one specific room in the loft creating separation and space. Bianca Pompa plays Anne Frank. She keeps energy throughout the play adding to her energetic and childish personality. She also shows a growth in maturity by the end of the play through wiser ways of speaking and acting. Ryan Rogers plays Mr. Frank. His consistent tone and voice of reason helps keep the peace in the difficult living situation. Grace Kim. The costume designer, provided costumes perfect for each characters age and the time period. Travis Baker plays Mr. Van Daan. His cold and intimidating personality shows through his consistent arguing and shady behavior. He even smoked cigarettes and stole food from the depleting rations. Spencer Woolard’s prop design makes the play more realistic and lifelike. This is done through use of real fires and smoke when lighting candles and cigarettes. Keith Ahlstrom plays Mr. Dussel. His loaner and introverted personality foiled that of Anne Frank. Also his use of sarcastic humor added brief comedy to the heavy play.
by Patrick Poss of Brethren Christian High School
Told Like Never Before
The story of Anne Frank and her time in the Annex during World War II is well-known and told in countless different places in countless different ways, but never before has it been illustrated the way Los Alamitos High School creates it. Their production of The Diary of Anne Frank is real and striking; it consists visually of a handmade set that is unbelievably stunning and quite pleasing to the eye, as well as gorgeously composed music all built up by students themselves. The play opens with Otto Frank (Ryan Rogers) returning to the Annex after the end of the war and deciding to leave Amsterdam to get away from the memories of his lost family. Rogers gets the emotional ball rolling with some raw emotion, leading directly into a smooth change in scenes with Anne's voice wafting around the theatre. Color and humor is brought into the first flashback by Anne (Bianca Pompa) and her powerful and well-developed character.
The addition of Mr. and Mrs. Vaan Daan (Travis Baker and Moira Scott) and their son Peter (Evan Cusato) adds both humor and a stunning conveyance of emotion where it is necessary. Mr. Dussel (Keith Ahlstrom) should be commended for the sarcastic edge to his character and the positive way it affects the rest of the cast throughout the performance. It should be invariably mentioned that the cast does a fantastic job using the set to illustrate what life might have been like in the Annex, pretending there are doors and walls where they would have been in the open-faced set. In addition, the actors kept in full character when they were in the other rooms of the Annex even if they didn't have a line or a specific part in a scene. Margot (Stella Thermos), though she does not have many lines, is an excellent example of keeping in character throughout the production. The use of props is something to marvel at; it is especially wonderful that real food and drink as well as matches and a smoking cigarette are used.
Though a few of the actors could have made stronger character choices, the emotion felt on stage was very palpable and impacted the audience's pathos drastically. The Diary of Anne Frank was a great production, and Los Alamitos' work in the future should be a thing to look forward to.
by Caitlyn Sampley of Mater Dei High School
The Light in the Dark
Los Alamitos High School performs Frances Goodric and Albert Hackett’s dramatization of “The Diary of Anne Frank”—a moving story both devoid and yet brimming with hope that takes place in during the infamous Holocaust in Holland. The play brings to life excerpts from the diary of young Anne Frank (Bianca Pompa) that give the audience a peek into her life as she, her family, the Van Daans, and Mr. Dussel (Keith Ahlstorm) are cramped in the loft of her father’s former business and are plagued by fear of discovery by the Nazis.
Bianca Pompa’s portrayal of lively Anne Frank brought forth tremendous amounts of energy to the show. Her child-like and theatrical gestures and youthful voice accurately depicted the naivety of young Anne who was still so full of hope and intoxicated with the vigor of life and growing up despite her desolate and freighting surroundings. Just like her character, Pompa carried the show with her energy and fostered a light that prevailed to shine in the dark.
Another character that stood out was Mrs. Frank played by Nikki Law. Law’s portrayal of the motherly Mrs. Frank brought a certain gentleness and warmth to a situation that was infected by conflict and fear, particularly during her attempts to comfort Anne after her nightmare.
The show had very poignant moments of tenderness between the characters, such as the one between Anne and her father, Mr. Frank (Alonso Law) as he came to Anne’s side after her nightmare following her mother’s unsuccessful attempt. Mr. Frank and Anne’s relationship was touchingly depicted as he tenderly held and comforted the distraught Anne which truly demonstrated the strong bond between father and daughter.
Another highlight to the show was the lighting design by Jasmine Menendez and the construction of the set. The students produced an impressive and all-encompassing set constructed with countless planks of wood that allowed the audience a view of the entire loft—a laudable feat indeed. With such a large set, the lighting design was key in establishing focus, and the execution and correspondence with the lamps on set created a very realistic and well-illuminated setting. In addition, the dramatic backlighting when they were discovered jarred the audience and heightened the experience of the play.
Despite the depressing content, Los Alamito’s High School dutifully illustrated the elements that made Anne’s tale so remarkable.
by April Damon of Mission Viejo High School
Shouting, secrets, love, and war. Those are the requirements for any good drama, specifically Los Alamitos High School’s production of The Diary of Anne Frank.
Set in Nazi-controlled Amsterdam, The Diary of Anne Frank tells the gripping story of a young Jewish girl, named Anne Frank, her sister and parents, their friends and son, and a single dentist all living together in hiding to escape the Nazis. Based on the real diary of Anne Frank, the play rings true to many people, not only those who lived through the Holocaust.
Done entirely on one set, with actors hardly ever leaving the stage, the cast did a good job of presenting the feel of being cooped up day after day for years with the same people. Though some actors lacked strong emotion at times, overall, they kept up the emotion and intensity that the story deserved.
Bianca Pompa portrayed a very light and energetic Anne Frank. Though she is older, her innocent and young version of Anne rang true for all watching. In her body language and high voice, she convincingly created a young, carefree girl.
Mr. Frank, played by Ryan Rogers, was also very convincing in his portrayal of the older Mr. Frank. He and Pompa had definite chemistry as father and daughter, shining through in a moment when Anne calls out for her father to comfort her after a nightmare. Rogers and Pompa both portrayed believable versions of characters quite different in age from themselves.
In terms of technical elements, the lighting of the show, designed and operated by Jasmine Menendez, was incredibly unique. Natural lighting was used for most of the production, with spotlighting done by lamps strategically placed around the set. Though it made it a little difficult to see the actor’s faces at the beginning, overall, it added to the ambiance of the play.
Another wonderful lighting moment occurred at the end. When the Nazis finally come, the light behind the wood-planked set flashes brightly, adding to the panicked and terrified emotions the characters are feeling. The effect caused the entire audience to make a unified gasp. It was a stunning and breathtaking addition to the story.
Overall, the play was an honest and truthful portrayal of the story of Anne Frank. The actors did not over-complicate their acting, but told the story in the sincere way that only young people acting from the heart can.
by Jamie Ostmann of Orange County School of the Arts
Diary of Anne Frank Review
In the play Diary of Anne Frank at Los Alamitos High school was an animated empathetic, moving play consisting o only fourteen cast members who as an ensemble were engrossing to watch. At moments the audience terrified and others were teary eyed. All of the actors had very good chemistry between each other and showcased their talent and vulnerability. Director Stacey Castiglione declared “all of our cast members who are playing people in the Vahn Daan Family, the Frank family, Mr. Dussel, Mr. Kraler and Meip were all put together in one space and had no communication with the Nazi officers that came on stage at the end of the show so the family’s chemistry can build and become more realistic.” His shows how they ere truly attempting to use method acting to their advantage and their experiment was successful.
The set was extremely realistic as it portrayed the Annex that all three families were living in during the war. It confined them into one claustrophobic place and showed how little room the they all had and how they were scared for their life each and every day. The set mimicked the actual annex in Amsterdam and had all of the rooms but missing the fourth wall like a dolls house so you can see everything at is happening. The production also lived on one set the entire performance. The lights had such an eerie glow to them when they were truly hiding and half of the show the only lights onstage were the orange glow in the background and the two lamps that were placed in the house. Most of the props were real and examples such as the cake, water and fake cigarettes that puffed smoke through the top were onstage which made the piece more believable for a high school performance.
Although some actors tended to play one emotion throughout the entire show, there were may actors who played there role very dynamically. Some of these characters represent Anne Frank who was played by Bianca Pomper, she did a fabulous job of playing a twelve-year-old girl who is ignorant and innocent and really shows the child aspects to her dynamic character.
Overall the performance was very mature and risk taking and showcased their school’s talent and ability to take on such a daring text, everyone involved with the performance, well earned congratulations.
by Kelsey Bray of Orange County School of the Arts
As darkness falls throughout the theatre, the audience prepares themselves for what will be a heart-wrenching story of a young girl and her new roommates. The students at Los Alamitos High School put on quite a show as they take on “The Diary of Anne Frank”.
The story takes place in the 1940’s in a narrow Annex in Amsterdam, Holland. Being confined to such a small space allows the eight characters to develop strong relationships with one another. When Anne receives a diary for her birthday, she begins to write about her experiences in the annex, which include: her feelings towards the outside world, her love for Peter Van Daan, daily events, and other accounts. “The Diary of Anne Frank” is truly spectacular.
The young Anne Frank (Bianca Pompa) is excellently embodied by her childish nature throughout the entire show. Pompa’s uses of levels in her voice help draw in the audience’s attention even further. Her cool and confident nature on the stage prevails as she keeps all the scenes moving at a nearly perfect pace.
Although Anne’s sister Margot (Stella Thermos) has few lines, her character is perfectly embodied and believable. This is also prevalent in Peter Van Daan (Evan Cusato).
Mrs. Frank, (Nikki Law) the mother of Anne, is a remarkable woman that is played with strong emotion. Law’s ability to portray such a loving, motherly figure is truly remarkable. Her astounding articulation stood out among all the others.
The relationship between Anne and Peter is one that is truly unique. As the characters begin to develop feelings towards each other, both exhibit a sense of giddiness and childlike body language that ultimately set the mood for the scene.
One of the most impressive aspects behind the scenes of the show is the lighting design by Jasmine Menendez. Her use of lamps for specific scenes allows the show to become more unique because the characters themselves would turn them on and off. Another distinctive part of the design is the lights placed behind the stage. As the Nazis’ enter, the lights turn on, flooding through the wooden panels of the stage. This adds a chilling touch to the show, combined with the characters’ looks of terror on their faces.
Experience love, hope, isolation, and much more as the students at Los Alamitos High School embrace “The Diary of Anne Frank” in an awe-inspiring way.
by Katelyn Biberacher of Santa Margarita Catholic
Los Alamitos Brings the Diary Pages of Anne Frank to Life!
The year is 1942, and you are in the upstairs basement of an edifice in Amsterdam, Holland during a time of prejudice and war. You are living in the darkness of the cold, bitter Annex which holds you captive from the outside world. “The Diary of Anne Frank” written by Anne Frank herself in the 1940’s, follows the young girl through her life in the Annex, a claustrophobic atmosphere which is home to not only Anne and her family, but home to her father’s former colleague and his family, the van Daan’s.
Bianca Pompa illustrates a zealous picture of Anne Frank at thirteen through her adolescent character traits, ubiquitous to the audience by her ever changing facial expressions based on the situation at hand. Pompa’s facial expression of pouting her lips, while leaning forward creates giddy smiles and rosy colors from the cheeks of the audience when she is sitting on the diminutive bed of Peter van Dann played by Evan Cusato, attempting to gain a kiss from the introverted boy.
Pompa manifests Anne Frank as she evolves and conforms to the living environment of the Annex when Mr. Dussel, played by Keith Ahlostrom is introduced to her. The personality of Mr. Dussel is a congenial contrast to Anne Frank’s exuberant traits, and this is prevalent to the audience when Ahlostrom delivers his lines with dry sarcasm which attains a numerous chuckles from the audience. While some characters find themselves losing their sense of character in their reactions to what is taking part, Ahlostrom reacts to the Nazi Ensemble (Robert Kidd, Jason Gehringer, Simon Martin, and Alexander Taylor) with great trepidation.
Scenic Build by students Chris Cosby, Will Harper, Gillian Lelchuk, Jasmine Menendez, Dominc Pillivant, Sasha Rockwell, Ryan Rogers, Sarah Seo, and Mikel Smith awes in that the multihued planks of the wood exhibit the concreteness of the living situation of the Annex. The rich planks of wood are complimented by the utilization of lamps in the set as set by Prop Master Spencer Woolard. Woolard also brings the production a homey touch with the use of real cake, water, and cigarette smoke as used by the actors.
The Los Alamitos production of “The Crucible” captivates audiences through the actor’s renditions of their characters, and interpretations of explicit relationships which arise from during Anne’s time in the Annex.
by Kennedy Farrell of Santa Margarita Catholic
Love and hope inspire at Los Alamitos
Branded and cut off from society, the Jews caught in the horror of World War II must take drastic measures in order to survive. Los Al’s The Diary of Anne Frank focuses on the Frank family, who must seek protection in a small, secluded annex along with their friends the Van Daans. Living here, though, means strict rules and even stricter consequences, for the penalty of discovery is ultimately death.
Nikki Law embodies the maternal personality of Mrs. Frank, continually doting over her daughters and casting loving looks on the other characters. Law excels at having a complex character; she shows times of utter desperation and sorrowful emotion that contrast her calm and collected persona.
Mr. Van Daan (Travis Baker) delves into his role with enthusiasm and vivacity. Lively facial expressions and quirky habits allow his character to fully come to life. Baker’s clear diction in times of frustration or anger is impressive, and his emotions are clearly portrayed throughout the production.
A bright spot in the downcast world of the annex is Anne Frank, portrayed by Bianca Pompa. Pompa brilliantly portrays Anne’s youthful enthusiasm and ever-constant optimism, and keeps the energy up the entire show. Her small but significant actions such as pouting and skipping about the stage convince the viewer of her character’s young age, and even in the more somber moments Pompa stays in her role as she smoothly transitions from one emotion into another.
Even though some interactions between characters is wanting, the cast never breaks character, even when the focus is not on them. Mr. Dussel (Keith Ahlstrom) is an example of this. In the part where he sneaks up to Peter’s (Evan Cusato’s) room, he keeps his character’s same sarcastic movements and expressions while nosing around despite the fact that the spotlight is on a separate part of the set.
Lighting (designed and operated by Jasmine Mendez) creates dramatic effects as well as acting as a useful and innovative way to isolate certain parts of an otherwise open set. Sound (Travis Baker and Ryan Rogers) creatively uses the excerpts from Anne’s diary to transition the show from scene to scene smoothly.
Los Alamitos produces a truly wonderful and sentimental show with an all-star cast and amazing technical elements, and leaves the viewer knowing that "Despite everything, people are really good at heart".
by Veronica Perry of Tri-School
The actors had clearly studied and worked hard. For the most part diction was good and everyone could be heard. The actors seemed to work well together and understand their characters and their relationships with one another. The show had a good pace. There were moments where the dialogue seemed a little rushed. The actors should make sure they don't get too caught up with getting the lines out that they rush through them. Also, they should watch moments of emotional escalation as there were some moments that came across abrupt and over the top. As the majority of the actors are on the stage throughout the entire show, they did a great job in staying in character and invested in the scene. In these moments, however, they need to also make sure not to pull focus when the action is on other cast members. These cautionary moments rarely happened and the majority of the show was filled with great moments and engaged actors.
I thought the direction was really good. You could tell the director worked with them on being in the time period. I thought the interpretation of the piece was well done. The blocking made great use of the stage. There were some moments where the actors seemed to move just for the sake of moving, but overall had purpose in their movement. I thought the cast had a good grasp on the material and the director's vision.
The set was fantastic! I felt like it would've been something I would see in a professional production. It instantly made me feel like I was in an attic space. The props were well done and fit the time period. Many of the props looked vintage. The costumes were well designed to fit the era. There was, however, a character with a skirt several inches above the knee, but that's a very picky note for a well costumed show. Makeup could've been used a little more effectively to age older characters. Lighting and sound were very effective, though some cues were a little off. Overall both sound and lighting added to the effectiveness of the production. I was impressed with the speed in which the scene changes were made. Kudos to the stage crew. All these elements combined helped elevate the level of the production.
EFFECTIVENESS OF PRODUCTION:
Overall, execution of all the production elements were great. You can tell everyone worked really hard to make a wonderful production. The actors really worked well together to bring the characters to life. Sets, costumes, props made it all very believable. The director should be proud of the kids and the hard work they clearly put into the production.
The characterization was obviously thought out and well looked at by each member of the production. All cast members knew what they were doing and stayed in character throughout the entire performance. Everyone was easily understood and it was evident that the cast worked as a team. Timing was great, there was no dead space and the show was fluid.
Staging and stage pictures were well put together and interesting to watch. The stage was used to its full potential and blocking was very natural and effective. The actors seemed to fully understand what the director wanted and brought out the believability on stage.
The set, costumes, make up, sound and lighting were phenomenal! The set was incredible to look at and really brought excitement to the production. The color palette was thought out and looked great. Lighting, costumes and sound were on the money. The show came together very nicely.
OVERALL EFFECTIVENESS OF THE SHOW:
The over all production brought a great sense of realism to the audience. The cast did a wonderful job with bringing justice to the story of Anne Frank by playing the characters with honesty. At some points of the production the energy became flat and you would lose attention. Keeping constant energy and commitment to your characters would brought them back, in end result, leaving the audience happy to have seen such a show.
Los Al Drama Director