LJ Swanepoel Art | Review of The Play of the Diary of Anne Frank
Review of the book of The Play of the Diary of Anne Frank. Strand, Cape Town, South Africa.
frances goodric, albert hackett, hitler, jews, world war 2, annex, anne frank, review, book, read, novel, play, theater, drama, director, cape town, water restriction, water, level 6b, shower, toilet, western cape, nazi, diary, gordon's bay,
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Book #2 – The Play of the Diary of Anne Frank

The Play - Diary of Anne Frank

Book #2 – The Play of the Diary of Anne Frank

This book is exactly as the title says it – a play. I did not expect a novel, in fact, I knew what I was buying from the second-hand book store in Gordon’s Bay. What counted against me while reading the play, was that I hadn’t yet read the actual diary of Anne Frank that was published after her father, Otto Frank decided to do so.

The Play of the Diary of Anne Frank

by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett

Though the focus is only on the people in the annex who lived with Anne and her family during World War 2, the story gave me some insight on how Jewish people were living under the radars. It shows another perspective of World War 2. While I was reading, I almost felt like I was there; and at the same time, I imagined sitting in the audience looking at a stage. In that regard, the play is written exquisitely. For me, the story felt real, and I’m guessing very close to the original story.

The play in written from gives enough detail for the reader to imagine the scenes, but like a screenplay, it lacks the information of what characters think and feel, leaving it up to the viewer / reader to figure it out – unless the character explains it verbally, or in this case, through writing. Luckily the play begins with Anne’s words in the diary (now I can’t confirm if those words are exactly from her diary, or adaptions, since I haven’t read the original published Diary of Anne Frank, but I can only assume that her diary had to be ‘cleaned up’ to communicate better for a play), and continues either at the start- or end of each scene with a voice-over. During Anne’s voice-over, we are given insight to what she thought at that moment – but I can’t recall the voice-overs containing much of her feelings or thoughts.

The book is written for dramatic purposes, and for directors who would like to have this play performed in a theater or at school. It is not written for relaxation. The book contains suggestions and directions of what should be done during the play, and even includes questions in the back of the book.
It can be read just for the story, but it doesn’t have the same effect as reading a novel. I would rather go and buy the book that the play is based on and read that instead. I do commend the writers of the play for creating an amazing piece of drama.

I feel sorry for the stage actors and actresses who had to memorize all these lines. I don’t think I’d be able to pull it off.


It’s a family play, thus there are no scenes of violence and no strong language. The story is based on actual events, which increased my feeling of realism for it.

Please share your thoughts if you also read this book. I’d love to read your comments.
My next book is: “Jock of the Bushveld by Sir FitzPatrick – the 1984 edition, and I’ll post my review of it next week.


To an extremely small degree, I can relate to those conditions and limitations Anne and her family lived in – with the water crisis currently in Cape Town, South Africa. We are heading for Level 6B restrictions on 1 February 2018, which means that each person is allowed only 50L of water per day. So far, “Day Zero” is on 21 April 2018 when all the water supply will be closed and water collection points will be set in place, allowing each person to get only 25L per day.

Currently people are doing whatever they can to save water by:

  • showering standing in buckets to capture water and using that for flushing toilets
  • giving extremely limited water, or “grey water” (rain water harvested in drums) for plants
  • harvesting rain water in 200L or larger drums
  • not washing cars
  • washing dishes once a week; and
  • washing clothes using little water.

This affects the entire Cape Town population and surrounding towns. All we can do, really, is pray for rain to come from April.


Here are some photos of Anne Frank of where she’s writing in her diary, and a much better portrait shot than this book’s cover.
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