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NK Reality Theater's 'Anne Frank' mixes live theater with prerecorded interviews and audio
POULSBO — For more than an hour, Josh Thomsen sits hunched over a laptop in front of the dimly lit stage in the North Kitsap Auditorium; intertwining audio and video with a live performance.
"And then they came for me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank," mixes live theater with prerecorded interviews and audio from survivors of the Holocaust. The play, performed by the North Kitsap Reality Theater Group — a branch of the NK Drama Club — offers an intricate mix between the student characters and the video.
Because of the finesse required to sync the technical side of the play, North Kitsap Drama Instructor Randy Powell offered the work to Thomsen before the school year began.
"It took a while before everything began coming together," Thomsen said before a performance on Jan. 21. "Everyone treats their parts differently."
The North Kitsap High School senior delved into audio/visual work more than three years ago. Syncing the audio and video together were simple compared to the timing required during the play, he said. Once the play begins, the challenge becomes syncing the technical aspects with the actors performance.
The play is the real story of intersecting lives during World War II and the Holocaust. Though there are no main parts, the story evolves around three characters: Anne Frank, Eva Schloss and Ed Silverberg. Interviews conducted with Schloss and Silverberg are projected on a television at the back of the stage during the acts.
"It's a very humbling experience," NK senior Kayla Guay said of performing the play.
Guay portrays Frank, which she worked on mastering since earlier in the school year. This is Guay's last role as a student at North Kitsap High School — she was recently accepted to Eastern Washington University — and said it is interesting to act as one character for so long.
"I appreciate things more now," Guay said, adding she is more connected to the real person she portrays on stage. "Of course, I could never understand exactly what they went through."
The play was originally performed by the group back in December for the Human Rights Conference. Powell is currently negotiating with other venues, such as the middle schools and Kingston High School, for possible performances. He said the reopened Port Gamble Theater is another possible venue in the near future.
While it may be a play, it is also a social service, Powell said. Before the show began on Jan. 22, he noted it tends to make people uncomfortable.
"Nobody really wanted to be the first to applause," Powell said of the first showing at the auditorium. "You're going to get an emotional response."
Of the student actors in the play, one is in the position to make those in the audience uncomfortable with a strong performance.
As the only Nazi portrayal in the play, NK senior Jakob Haws marches across the stage with a swastika armband. This is the sixth year Haws has acted, but this role is one of the most memorable.
"I never feel entirely comfortable with the role," Haws said, noting the experience was worthwhile. "It's difficult and kind of sickening at time."
Though there were no set dates, performances will continue through April in the North Kitsap area.
— Nazi youth: Jakob Haws
— Young Ed Silverberg: Bryson Breakey
— Young Eva: Alina Haws
— Ed's mother: Tasha Turner
— Ed's father: Cameron Walsworth
— Heinz: Connor Laurion
— Mutti: Anna Smallbeck
— Pappy: Schuyler Hardesty
— Anne Frank: Kayla Guay
(Theater arts teacher Randy Powell directs the cast of the play on Jan. 21.)
(Kipp Robertson/Staff photo)