The Voice of Anne Frank comes to the Studio Theater
The artist’s note calls The Voice of Anne Frank a “multi-expressional theater project,” I call it the #1 value meal including her mind, body, and soul. This one-woman show stars Mirenka Cechova from Prague, a Fulbright scholar in residence at American University who shared her unique Czech style with the AU community this weekend.
The way her body moved was so dramatic, in an interpretive dance style, and people in the audience used the word “grotesque” and some compared it to the recent Golden Globe nominated film “Black Swan” (which, I still have yet to see). There is no way to describe the size of her calf muscles, and she had back and shoulder muscles which I didn’t even know existed. Her back would twitch and she would stutter and slur her words, which only seemed to enhance her inner feelings. I’m still having a hard time understanding this theater form, but all I know is that Cechova is truly a stellar performer. She mumbled to herself, used the walls of the Studio Theater as a journal, and danced her way through her portrayal of Anne Frank with a beautiful live cello accompaniment.
Cechova says she chooses to emphasize her performance on “inner impulses and the strong inner visualization” to translate images from her head to the audience. She certainly achieved this. Everyone in the audience seemed familiar with the play, even a special guest from the Czech Republic embassy. She told the story mostly through her body since the audience saw nothing but her back for the first 20 minutes. Well, it certainly was unique, and got even more unique as she turned around and started acting out each character in the play…she basically had a conversation with herself, playing four other people.
The set consisted of a suitcase, and long white cloth, and cellist on a pedestal against the back wall. The lighting and music played noteworthy roles in enhancing her performance. The lights shone on the walls to create “journal” pages which she invisibly scribed.
Being ever so familiar with The Diary of Anne Frank, it was an unusual change of pace to see this edition, and it certainly is one I will never forget. I found it extremely challenging to differentiate between the reality of Nazi occupation and the life she was living; she was transformed from a little girl into a number.
All I have to say is, I’m sorry if you missed this.
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