When most people think of the Holocaust, their minds immediately turn to the devastation wrought on the Jewish people in the concentration camps in Germany. They focus on key military and political figures on both sides of the war waged against genocide and hatred.

When most people think of the Holocaust, their minds immediately turn to the devastation wrought on the Jewish people in the concentration camps in Germany. They focus on key military and political figures on both sides of the war waged against genocide and hatred.

But amidst the terrible pictures they conjure up, sometimes the face of an innocent, uber-optimistic and inspiring young girl breaks through, and they are reminded of her famous journaling of her family’s daily struggles, which put a personal face on those who suffered through the horror.

Next month, Ardmore Little Theatre will present “The Diary of Anne Frank” at The Charles B. Goddard Center. Based on the actual diary written by a young girl whose family hid out from the Nazis for nearly two years, the stage show was written by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett.

The version being performed by ALT was adapted by Wendy Kesselman with some changes that make it more contemporary for today’s audiences and, in the opinion of director Fred Collins, make it more “digestible.”

Collins has assembled an eclectic cast consisting of first-timers and ALT veterans. But probably his most ambitious undertaking is that he has double-cast the lead role of Anne Frank, splitting the character between two young ladies -- Joy Quary and Julie Grice. Each girl will perform the role on alternate nights during the show’s Nov. 13-15 run and will offer a perceptibly different take on the character with their own interpretations.

“I did that for two reasons. Both are very, very good in their reading and I thought they both ought to have an opportunity to play it,” Collins said. “And, they play it somewhat differently, so it gives the show a different flavor, depending on which girl is doing the role at the time. So I think the audience should come to see it, because they will see a different show with each girl.”

As part of the cast’s “homework” for the show, each person was asked to research his or her real-life counterpart, as each character is based on a real person in Anne Frank’s life. Collins said he wanted the actors to get to know the people they portray to help them get into their minds and feelings more deeply and give them a personal connection to their characters.

“I wanted them to figure out who these people were to help them with their character analysis, I hoped,” Collins said. “I wanted it to help them with their portrayal of these people to find out a little bit about them. And, so, having the Internet with all that vast information available made it pretty easy.”

The cast sat together during their Oct. 19 rehearsal and shared with the others what they’d learned about their individual characters.

“It was pretty fascinating,” Collins said. “We spent about half an hour going over various things. I wanted them to know about the real people, too, because I think that has an impact about how they portray these people.”

To study the 13-year-old Anne, Quary and Grice, who are both 14, didn’t have far to go. Each had studied “The Diary of Anne Frank” last year in their respective schools, and found specific characteristics of Anne that they admired.

Quary, who is a student at Ardmore High School, described Anne Frank as “a bright girl, very smart and very optimistic. Even in the situation they’re in, she truly believes that people are good at heart, no matter what.”

The story of Anne Frank and the Holocaust has captured Quary’s interest for many years. She believes she and Anne are similar in certain ways, such as they are both optimists and try to look past the bad things in life. Anne’s story is so universally appealing because this diary of a young girl gave outsiders a personal view of what it was like for people going through that dark period of history, without the slant historians can put on their accountings of past events.

“Sometimes, I think she was kind of their hope, even though she could be a little annoying,” Quary said. “I think she had a little spark that kept them all going.

“Back in eighth grade, my teacher had us read many stories about the Jewish experience and ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ was one of them,” she said. “Just reading it, you can kind of gauge her personality and how she viewed the things that were going on around her. She told the story from her own perspective, and that gave it more humanity than the history books.”

A freshman at Plainview High School, Grice also studied “The Diary of Anne Frank” as an eighth-grader, and watched the movie based on her writings. Once she was cast in the part, she continued her research and made some interesting discoveries.

“She was a very spunky, spirited girl who’s very questionative,” Grice said. “As her story goes along, her actual diary is written as things are going on around her. I try to portray her as best as I can, but no actor, no matter how great, can ever be as good as the real person.”

Grice believes Anne’s story captured worldwide attention because “she really showed the views of the Holocaust through a young woman’s eyes. She was trying to interpret it. She wrote it down exactly as she saw it and she saw, in my opinion, the true human spirit. I found there’s a real human connection in the telling of her story.

“This young girl, she not only told the story, she showed it with such passion and kindheartedness,” Grice said. “She was amazing.”

The Cast

Cast list for Ardmore Little Theatre’s ‘Anne Frank’

Anne — Joy Quary and Julie Grice
Otto Frank — Randy Simmons
Edith Frank — Monica Stolfa
Margot Frank — Brandy Cruse
Miep Gies — Sarah Alkire
Mr. Kraler — Chuck Watterson
Peter Van Daan — Mike Carpenter
Mrs. Van Daan — Ashleigh Lee
Mr. Van Daan — John White
Mr. Dussell — Carl Clark