Throughout the development of The Diary of Anne Frank, Rabbi Brett Krichiver of the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation has served as Guest Dramaturg for the IRT. He has helped advise on the history, teach actors important Hebrew phrases and songs, and serve as a resource for post-show discussions. On February 24 following the 2 PM performance, Rabbi Krichiver will lead a post-show discussion with members of the cast as they open up a conversation on themes relating back to the show. Read below to learn more about Rabbi Brett Krichiver, his community work, and his important contributions to The Diary of Anne Frank, presented by Glick Philanthropies.
What is your role in the Jewish community here in Indianapolis?
The Jewish community has been thriving and growing in Indianapolis for a hundred and fifty years, and Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation has been at the center of that community. We have been vocal proponents for minority rights, social justice, and Jewish values during that entire time. I am proud to serve the largest Jewish congregation in our region and have been here for almost a decade.
How did you become involved with the IRT and The Diary of Anne Frank?
I have been familiar with the IRT and the excellent work they do for many years. When presented with the opportunity of a short sabbatical, I approached the theatre about finding a project that might fit. Executive Artistic Director Janet Allen suggested I come onboard for The Diary of Anne Frank, and the timing worked perfectly. I feel so privileged to be able to support bringing this important story to Indiana audiences.
What does your role as Guest Dramaturg encompass and what elements are you advising on during the development of this production?
The IRT has produced The Diary of Anne Frank before, and their staff dramaturg, Richard Roberts, has done excellent work researching every aspect of the play. Adding to his wealth of information, I am working with actors and designers during the rehearsal process to ensure the Jewish content and historical context are accurate. I’ve been fortunate to work with this extremely talented group of actors as they learn to sing Jewish songs, pronounce Hebrew phrases, and explore the world of the German Jewish community of the 1930's and the Holocaust through articles, books, and films. Our director, Janet Allen, is extremely knowledgeable about the world of the play, as well—together I hope audiences will feel we have created something truly authentic and yet entirely accessible.
Can you discuss the importance of hosting community events and discussions, like your post-show discussion, focused on this part of history and relevant modern issues? How about educational programming for youth in particular?
The story of Anne Frank resonates with audiences for a number of reasons. We bear witness to the horrors of the Holocaust as the last generation who will have the opportunity to hear from survivors first-hand at a moment when we see dangerous elevations of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial around the world, even here in Indiana. The play also calls us to consider every marginalized or oppressed group in contemporary society—whether for their immigration status, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. We are all family; we are all responsible for one another. History continues to show us the dangers of nationalism, Nazism, and xenophobia. Only by educating ourselves and especially students about these dangers might we ensure these forces stay in the darkest corners of our society, if we cannot remove them entirely.
Any other comments about the show or your involvement?
I am eternally grateful to Janet Allen and the cast and crew for their willingness to share this journey with me. It has been an inspiring reminder of the power of theatre to comment on, and to shape, the world in which we live. I hope we have many other opportunities to work together!
For more information on The Diary of Anne Frank, presented by Glick Philanthropies, please click here.
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