Tracey Vaughan first experienced “The Diary of Anne Frank” in 1993, playing the title role in North Idaho College’s production of Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett’s play. Twenty years later, she has returned to the show, except this time she’s on the other side of the stage, directing NIC’s revival of the renowned historical drama.
By now, everyone is aware of the plight of Anne Frank – that she was a Jewish girl living in Amsterdam during WWII, that she and her family evaded Nazi capture and lived in hiding for two years before they were found and sent to concentration camps. Frank’s diary has become compulsory reading since its first publication in 1947, and Goodrich and Hackett’s stage adaptation, which is set entirely within the Frank family’s secret annex, deals with both the specific horrors of the Jewish persecution and the universal pangs of adolescence.
In the two decades since Vaughan’s own portrayal of Anne Frank, her feelings toward the show have changed. “I definitely have a different perspective with age,” she said, “thinking at that time more as a young person what it would be like and now realizing how difficult it must have been for the parents, now being a parent myself.”
As for approaching a role she’s already had a strong connection with, Vaughan said that coming back to “The Diary of Anne Frank” has been both a strange and rewarding experience. “It’s been a little surreal, to be honest, watching a performance that I did myself,” she said. “But I’m so moved by having the chance to be a part of it in the first place and being able to do it again and being a part of telling her story.”
Anne Frank famously wrote that “people are really good at heart,” and Vaughan said the reason Frank’s story resonates is because her youthful optimism shines through.
“One of the things about her voice is this sense of hope, of life continuing despite of everything,” Vaughan said. “Just being able to witness what a good heart and what a strong spirit Anne had despite of what happened to her is really inspirational to all of us.”