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Otterbein Theatre and Dance to host panel, “Anne Frank – A Diary and a Dialogue for a New Generation”

January 29, 2018
Otterbein University

(Westerville, Ohio) – Otterbein University’s Department of Theatre and Dance will host a panel discussion entitled, “Anne Frank – A Diary and a Dialogue for a New Generation” at 4 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 9, in the Campus Center Theatre, 100 W. Home Street. The event is free and open to the public.

Wendy Kesselman’s new adaptation of the stage play of “The Diary of Anne Frank” by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, to be performed at the Fritsche Theatre at Cowan Hall at Otterbein University, Feb. 15-18 and 22-24, provides the catalyst for this panel discussion. 

Robert Kraft and Paul Eisenstein, scholars in the field of Holocaust studies, will join the production’s director, Mark Mineart, and student dramaturg, Mikayla Burr, to discuss what Anne’s diary and her story may reveal to us when observed through a 21st century lens. Christina Kirk, chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance will moderate the discussion.

According to Kraft, a professor of psychology at Otterbein University, teaching courses in memory, cognition, personality and the self, the panel will explore the question of “how to communicate alien and monstrous historical events in a way that people can understand and feel.  One answer is a compelling diary by an observant adolescent.  A type of document that doesn’t exist for other widespread atrocities.”

Kraft’s book, “Memory Perceived: Recalling the Holocaust,” explores patterns of deeply traumatic memory in the oral testimony of Holocaust survivors. Kraft’s most recent book, “Violent Accounts,” analyzes the memories of people who perpetrated violent crimes. Over the past decade, he has participated in several Holocaust education programs, including public presentations on Holocaust art and film. 

Eisenstein is the dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and professor of English at Otterbein University. He is the author of the book “Traumatic Encounters: Holocaust Representation and the Hegelian Subject” and articles on Holocaust texts such as Elie Wiesel's “Night” and Jonathan Safran Foer’s “Everything is Illuminated.” He taught (with Dr. Louis Rose) for many years a Senior Year Experience course at Otterbein titled “The Meaning of the Holocaust in the 20th Century.”

Mark Mineart, director of the upcoming production of “The Diary of Anne Frank,” has been a working theatre professional for over 30 years and has previously been involved in the documentary drama “God’s Country,” which deals with racism and Nazi-ism in the United States.  He has not formally studied the Holocaust outside of his public school education, but it was due to his education that Mineart sought to experience what he could directly when he lived in Germany for two years; he observed and discussed the effect of the Holocaust and World War II on contemporary German society, visited Dachau and spent time in Amsterdam where visited Anne’s sanctuary in the Secret Annex.  

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