It's the story of Sid Silver modeled on the writer Meyer Levin, who wrote his own story as a curator of Anne Frank’s memory in “The Obsession.” He cajoles and fights with various publishers, and his wife, as he is driven to tell Anne's story his way. His version of a stage play makes Anne the voice for every Jew, and he fights against the a softer, more sentimental version (by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett.)
We vacillate between sympathy and irritation with our heroic but irrational lead character, earnestly played by James Houska. James brings human warmth to this character, despite his temper tantrums and chauvinistic soap boxing. Genevieve Taricco and Joe Dickson get purple hearts for differentiating their characters in multiple roles, with multiple costume and hair changes, especially for Ms. Taricco. Some of these slow the pace, but the evocative music fills the space and continues the mood.
The set is spare but versatile, meeting the challenge of accommodating multiple, large marionettes, who "dropped in" and participated in some scenes. These were created by noted Lansing puppeteer, Fred Englegau, and were somewhat rustic and stylized, interesting, but at times awkward and distracting. Silver, like Levin, had once run a marionette theatre, but beyond that literal connection, they bring to life the haunting presence of Anne Frank, and others, and help us question who is "pulling the strings" in the legal battles over telling the Anne Frank story. Puppeteers were Sierra Olson and Leo Poroshin.
This show continues through March 30. 8pm Thur/Fri/Sat and 2pm Sunday, March 24 only.
Miller Performing Arts Center on the south side, on Curry Lane, off Miller Road, next to North School.www.peppermintcreek.org