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It's A Gray Area: Take in a bit of history with your theater

May 21, 2011|By James P. Gray

Do you want to treat yourself to great theater for a truly modest price? Get tickets for the upcoming production of "The Hiding Place," based upon Tim Gregory's original adaptation of the autobiography by Corrie ten Boom.

The show will be performed at Vanguard University's Lyceum Theatre in Costa Mesa at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays June 10 through 25, by the American Coast Theater Company, a resident professional theater group that performs at Vanguard during the summer season.

The play is set in Holland, and tells the story of ten Boom and her family of Christian watchmakers. The story begins in 1937 with the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the family's watch shop, and goes on to describe what happened in their small town after the Nazi invasion of Holland. Several of the family members joined the Dutch Resistance movement, and all of them helped build a secret room onto their small family house where Jews and political prisoners hide from the Nazis.

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So yes, this is a "Diary of Anne Frank"-type of story with the central figure naturally being ten Boom, while she and her family quietly shelter Jewish refugees in their small house during World War II. And we follow the story after a Dutch Nazi collaborator betrayed them, and also follow how their subsequent experiences affected them and so many other people after the war ended.

But there is more because the play also shows us much of ten Boom's human side as this heroic lady shares her doubts and frustrations about her faith, and how as the story progresses she increasingly turns to her religion for strength and comfort — and is richly rewarded for that decision. So, in essence, this becomes a beautiful story about how ten Boom's faith ripens and grows.

Finally, this story is even more meaningful because ten Boom died in 1983 on her 91st birthday here in Orange County, where she had been living with friends.

The second presentation of the summer season is the classic "Godspell," and it will run at the same time Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays July 15 to Aug. 21.

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