Page 1

Study Guide 2011-2012




yracuse Stage is committed to providing students with rich theatre experiences that explore and examine what it is to be human. Research shows that children who participate in or are exposed to the arts show higher academic achievement, stronger self-esteem, and improved ability to plan and work toward a future goal. Many students in our community have their first taste of live theatre through Syracuse Stage’s outreach programs. Last season more than 30,000 students from across New York State attended or participated in the Bank of America Children’s Tour, Backstory performances, artsEmerging, the Young Playwrights Festival, and our Student Matinee Program. We gratefully acknowledge the corporations and foundations who support our commitment to indepth arts education for our community.

Children’s Tour Naming Sponsor


John Ben Snow Foundation, Inc. Student Matinees

Young Playwrights Festival, Children’s Tour, & Student Matinees supported by

Lori Pasqualino as “Annabel” in the 2010 Bank of America Children’s Tour: Annabel Drudge... and the Second Day of School. Photo by Michael Davis

11/12 BACKSTORY CLASSROOM STUDY GUIDE Editing, Layout & Design by Michelle Scully


Written by Patricia Buckley

Timothy Bond

Producing Artistic Director Syracuse Stage and SU Drama

820 E Genesee Street Syracuse, NY 13210

My Secret Life


Erin Kathleen Schmidt Directed by Lauren Unbekant Costume Design by Meggan Camp


Director of Educational Outreach

Lauren Unbekant (315) 443-1150

Manager of Educational Outreach

Michelle Scully (315) 442-7755

Group Sales & Student Matinees

Tracey White (315) 443-9844

Box Office

(315) 443-3275 Syracuse Stage is Central New York’s premiere professional theatre. Founded in 1974, Stage has produced more than 230 plays in 38 seasons including numerous world and American premieres. Each season, upwards of 80,000 patrons enjoy an exciting mix of comedies, dramas and musicals featuring leading designers, directors and performers from New York and across the country, supported by a full-time and seasonal staff of artisans, technicians and administrators.

Study Guide CONTENTS

4. Teaching Theatre 6. Timeline 7. The Holocaust 8. Anne’s Story 10. Resources 11. Syracuse Stage Season 2010-11 EDUCATIONAL OUTREACH AT SYRACUSE STAGE The Bank of America CHILDREN’S TOUR brings high-energy, interactive, and culturally diverse performances to elementary school audiences. The BACKSTORY Program brings history to life as professional actors portray historical figures in classrooms and other venues. ArtsEMERGING takes students on an in-depth exploration of one mainstage season production using a multi-cultural, multi-arts lens. The YOUNG PLAYWRIGHTS FESTIVAL challenges students to submit original ten-minute plays for a chance to see their work performed at Syracuse Stage. Find us on:






e atr T he


At its core, drama is about characters working toward goals and overcoming obstacles. Ask students to use their bodies and voices to create characters who are: very old, very young, very strong, very weak, very tired, very energetic, very cold, very warm. Have their characters interact others. Give them an objective to fulfil despite environmental obstacles. Later, recap by asking how these obstacles affected their characters and the pursuit of their objectives.

Most (but not all) plays begin with a script — a story to be told and a blueprint of how to tell it. In his famous treatise, The Poetics, the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle outlined that playwrights are mindful of to this day:


What is the story line? What happened before the play started? What does each character want? What do they do to achieve their goals? What do they stand to gain/lose?

Any piece of theatre comprises multiple art forms. As you explore this play with your students, examine the use of:



How are each of these art forms used in the play? Why are they used? How do they help to tell the story?


What ideas are wrestled with in the play? What questions does the play pose? Does it present an opinion?


Who are the people in the story? What are their relationships? Why do they do what they do? How do their ages/status/etc. affect them?


What do the characters say? How do they say it? When do

they say it?


How do music and sound help to tell the story?


What visual elements support the play? This could include: puppets, scenery, costumes, dance, movement, and more.

Other Elements:Conflict/Resolution, Action, Improvisation, Non-verbal communication, Staging, Humor, Realism and other styles, Metaphor, Language, Tone, Pattern & Repetition, Emotion, Point of view. 4


The atr e

Most plays utilize designers to create the visual world of the play through scenery, costumes, lighting, and more. These artists use

ELEMENTS OF DESIGN to communicate information about the world within the play and its characters.

LINE can have length, width, texture,

direction and curve. There are 5 basic varieties: vertical, horizontal, diagonal, curved, and zig-zag.


is two-dimensional and encloses space. It can be geometric (e.g. squares and circles), man-made, or freeform.

FORM is three-dimensional. It encloses space

and fills space. It can be geometric (e.g. cubes and cylinders), man-made, or free-form.

SPACE is defined and determined by shapes and forms. Positive space is enclosed by shapes and forms, while negative space exists around them.


has three basic properties: HUE is the name of the color (e.g. red, blue, green), INTENSITY is the strength of the color (bright or dull), VALUE is the range of lightness to darkness.

TEXTURE refers to the “feel” of an object’s surface. It

can be smooth, rough, soft, etc. Textures may be ACTUAL (able to be felt) or IMPLIED (suggested visually through the artist’s technique).


Have students discuss these elements BEFORE attending the performance and ask them to pay special attention to how these elements are used in the production’s design. Whether your students are observing a piece of visual art (painting, sculpture, photograph) or a piece of performance art (play, dance), allow them first to notice the basic elements, then encourage them to look deeper into why these elements are used the way they are. 5




Frank Family

1929 June 12. Anne Frank is born in Frankfurt, Germany.

Adolph Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany and enacts Anti-Semitic laws. The first concentration camp is built in the town of Dachau.

1933 The family moves to the Netherlands to escape growing violence against Jews in Germany.

Nov. 9-10. ‘Kristallnacht.’ Jewish businesses and synagogues in Austria and Germany are looted and destroyed.


Nazis implement the T-4 Program, which authorized the killing of mentally & physically handicapped persons as well as the institutionalized.


Germany invades the Netherlands.

Dec. 11. Germany declares war on the U.S.

The ‘Final Solution’ is adopted by Nazi party leaders. Auschwitz, Belzec, and Sobibor become fully operational death camps.

June 6. ‘D-Day.’ Allies invade the German stronghold on the beaches of Normandy, France.

1940 Otto Frank’s business moves to new offices on the Prinsengracht Canal.

1941 The family, along with all other Dutch Jews, are forced to wear yellow stars at all times.

1942 June 12. Anne receives a diary for her birthday.

July 5. Anne’s sister Margot is summoned to a labor camp. The family goes into hiding the next day. July 13. The Van Pels family joins the Franks. Nov. 16. Fritz Pfeffer joins the group.

1944 Aug. 4. The annex is discovered. Occupants are arrested and sent to Westerbork Transit Camp. Sept. 3. The family is relocated to Auschwitz, where the men and women are separated. Hermann van Pels is gassed three days later. Oct. 28. Anne & Margot are sent to Bergen-Belsen. Dec. 20. Fritz Pfeffer dies at Neuengame.

German troops surrender to Soldiers during the Allied Invasion of Europe, D-Day, June 6, 1944.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/soldiersmediacenter/ with/2561211400/

Jan. 27. Allies liberate Auschwitz. Otto Frank is among the survivors.

1945 Jan. 6. Edith Frank dies at Auschwitz. March. Anne & Margot die of typhus.

April 30. Adolph Hitler commits suicide. May 7. Germany surrenders the war.

June. Otoo Frank returns to Amsterdam, unaware of his daughters’ fates. Oct. 24. Otto learns in a letter of his daughters’ deaths. He is given Anne’s diary.

Child survivors of the Holocaust filmed during the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp by the Red Army. January, 1945 http://www.martinfrost.ws/htmlfiles/holocaust.html

The Nuremberg War Crimes Trials. Of the 22 defendants, 11 were sentenced to death, 8 were imprisoned, and only 3 were acquitted.

(November 10, 1938) The Morning after the Night of Broken Glass [Kristallnacht] in Berlin: Shattered Shop Windows http://www.ushmm.org/

1946 1947 Anne’s diary is published in Amsterdam. It would be published in the USA in 1952.


The Holocaust


“I can remember that as early as 1932, groups of Storm Troopers came marching by singing: ‘When Jewish blood splatters from the knife.’” Otto Frank

During World War II, Nazi Germany and its collaborators murdered approximately six million Jews. The Holocaust is the name used to refer to this state-sponsored persecution and murder. Beginning with racially discriminatory laws in Germany, the Nazi campaign expanded to the mass murder of all European Jews. During the era of the Holocaust, the Nazis also targeted other groups because of their perceived “racial inferiority”: gypsies, people with disabilities, and some Slavic people (Polish, Russian, and others). Other groups were persecuted on political and behavioral grounds, among them Communists, Socialists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and homosexuals. The Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933. According to Nazi leadership, Germans were “racially superior.” The Jews, and others deemed “inferior” were considered “unworthy of life.” They established concentration camps to imprison Jews and other “inferior” people. Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing units) carried out mass murder operations. More than a million Jewish men, women, and children were murdered by these units, usually in mass shootings. Between 1942 and 1944, Nazi Germany deported millions more Jews from occupied territories to extermination camps, where they were murdered in specially developed killing facilities using poison gas. At the largest killing center, Auschwitz-Birkenau, transports of Jews arrived almost United States Holocaust Museum” daily from across Europe. “The www.ushmm.org In the final months of the war, as Allied forces moved across Europe, they began to find and liberate concentration camp prisoners. By war’s end, close to 2 out of every 3 Jews in Europe had been murdered by Nazi Germany and its collaborators in the massive crime we now call the Holocaust. Photos: Above, cannisters of a poison gas called Zyklon B. At left, a sign at the BergenBelsen camp warns of a typhus outbreak. Anne and Margot died of typhus at Bergen-Belsen only weeks before the camp’s liberation. [www.annefrankguide.net] 7



adapted from AnneFrank.org

Anne’s father, Otto, works at his family’s bank. Her mother, Edith, takes care of everything at home. It is a carefree period for Margot and Anne. However, their parents are worried. Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party have made Jews the scapegoat for all of Germany’s social and economic problems.

Like thousands of other Jews, Margot receives orders to report to a German work camp on July 5, 1942. Her parents have expected such a call-up: the secret hiding place is almost ready. Not only for their own family, but also for the Van Pels family: Otto’s co-worker Hermann, his wife Auguste, and their son Peter. The next day, the Frank family immediately takes to hiding. They are helped by four of Otto’s employees: Miep Gies, Johannes Kleiman, Victor Kugler, and Bep Voskuijl. They arrange the food supplies, clothing, books, and all sorts of other necessities.

Anne’s parents no longer feel safe, and Otto’s bank is also in financial trouble because of the worldwide economic crisis. Otto and Edith decide to leave Germany. Otto goes to the Netherlands to start a company in Amsterdam, where his family would join him a year later. They feel free and safe until the German army invades the Netherlands on May 10, 1940. Peter van Pels

Margot, Otto, Anne, and Edith Frank (1940)

Miep Gies In November, 1942 an eighth person joins: Fritz Pfeffer, an acquaintance of both families. The people in hiding pass their time by reading and studying. There is a lot of tension, probably due to the oppressive nature of the hiding place and their constant fear of being discovered. They often quarrel among themselves.

Discrimination against the Jews began there as well: Jews could not own their own businesses, Jewish children had to go to separate schools, all Jews had to wear a yellow star, and countless other restrictions. On her thirteenth birthday in 1942, Anne receives a diary as a present. It is her favorite gift. She begins writing in it immediately:

“I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support.”

Fritz Pfeffer 8





Otto Frank is liberated from Auschwitz in January 1945. He does everything he can to find out the fate of his daughters: placing an ad in the newspaper and talking to survivors, until he meets witnesses of their deaths. When Miep Gies hears the news, she gives Otto Anne’s diary and notebooks. Otto reads about the plan Anne had to publish a book about the time she spent in the Annex and decides to fulfill his daughter’s wish.


When the people in hiding have spent almost two years in the Secret Annex, there is fantastic news: a massive landing of the Allies on the beaches of Normandy. Europe could soon be liberated. Anne hopes to return to school in the fall. But on August 4, 1944, an SS Officer and three Dutch policemen arrive and demand to be taken to the Secret Annex. The people in hiding have been betrayed. They are arrested, as are some of their helpers, but Miep and Bep are left behind, where they find and rescue Anne’s diary.

Following the war, Otto devotes himself to human rights, and answers thousands of letters from across the world. He says, “Young people especially always want to know how these terrible things could ever have happened. I answer them as well as I can. And then at the end, I often finish by saying, ‘I hope Anne’s book will have an effect on the rest of your life so that insofar as it is possible in your own circumstances, you will work for unity and peace,’”

The occupants of the Annex spend a month at a transit facility before being taken by train to Auschwitz. At the end of October 1944 Anne and Margot are moved to Bergen- Belsen. Their mother remains behind, but soon falls ill and dies of exhaustion. Anne and Margot succumb to typhus in March 1945, only a few weeks before the camp is liberated by the British army. The Annex measured only 500 square feet. By November, these tight quarters were shared by eight people. The Frank family lived in two rooms on the first floor, the Van Pels family in the other two rooms on the second floor. Through Peter Van Pel’s tiny bedroom was an entrance to the attic.

On the walls of the room in which she hid, Anne pasted pictures, one of the few things the Nazis did not strip when the Franks were arrested. The room is now refurnished to look as it might have when Anne was in hiding. Times photo: Photo from “A History for Today: Anne Frank”

Inside the


The hiding place was a storage space for the business, and consisted of no more The exterior of Otto’s Amsterdam than a few windows, stacks offices (highlighted in blue), of boxes, and a loft space. with the canal in the foreThere was also, fortunate- ground. Photos courtesy of www.annefrankguide.net ly, a toilet and a sink. The Franks’ first order of business was to make curtains for the windows for security reasons. When this was finished, they made every effort to turn the bare storage space into a home, but just beyond the fake bookcase that hid the secret entrance were functioning offices. During business hours they The entrance to the annex was cleverly hidden by a bookcase, were forced to maintain an shown here ajar. insufferable silence. Photos courtesy of annefrankbiography.com 9








Educational Theatre Association


Kennedy Center


Viola Spolin



ANNE FRANK Anne Frank Center <www.AnneFrank.com> Anne Frank Museum <www.AnneFrank.org> Anne Frank Tree <www.AnneFrankTree.com> Time Magazine <www.time.com/time/time100/heroes/profile/frank01.html> WWII <www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/timeline/ww2time.htm> http://teacher.scholastic.com/frank http://www.uen.org/annefrank


Profile for Syracuse Stage

Anne Frank 2011  

Anne Frank Backstory Study Guide

Anne Frank 2011  

Anne Frank Backstory Study Guide

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded