Thirteen's Spring

the moving art collective · Ages 10+ · family friendly · world premiere · United States of America

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Review by LEXI LEE
June 07, 2016

What I liked

What I didn't like

My overall impression

Thirteen’s Spring gracefully avoids many of the pitfalls that an Anne Frank story can stumble into thanks to an extremely talented cast and crew who create a beautiful window into the world that Anne left behind. Anne Frank has become such a cultural figure that it is easy to lose sight of the fact that she was still a young woman in a rapidly, dangerously changing world. Thankfully this production does not allow that to happen.
By focusing on and carefully developing the landscape of Anne’s inner life as a preteen, The Moving Art Collective simultaneously avoids the melancholy that too often drags down an Anne Frank’s Diary production and builds a vibrant and engaging personal world that supports the coming of age narrative of the poetically inclined script.
The relationship between Anne and her parents was most poignantly and clearly defined during the sequence of scenes during which Anne’s mother wraps her daughter’s now famous diary while discussing the gift with her husband and Anne’s discovery of the diary (and subsequent joy) the next morning on her way to school were, for me, some of the most delicately handled and successfully communicative moments in the play. If every scene involving Anne and her parents could be handled with that depth and dexterity, the family dynamic would have come across even more strongly.
Elena Sanz and Michael Bates as parents Edith and Otto and Joseph Tanner Paul as Anne’s teenage friend and love interest adeptly bring to dimension and life to the world of the play through superb ensemble work. They remind me again that this story is not so far from home: I remember that these people were born around the same time as my grandparents. Growing up is both difficult and magical no matter what year it is.
A minimalist set is anchored visually by some of the Frank family’s possessions – attention to detail in regards to the props and costumes pay off, creating a sense of time and place in the bare bones venue. It allows the audience to get emotionally intimate with Anne, who is portrayed with remarkable talent and spirit by Nora King.
Beautifully executed space work and simple but boldly elegant direction help this piece to start, progress and finish strong. This is definitely a Hollywood Fringe Festival must see!

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