Like their contemporaries, the Frank family of nearby Amsterdam, the Ten Booms of Haarlem, Holland, who weren't Jewish, were persecuted for providing refuge to Jews duringWorld War II.
Another contrast: While Anne Frank's words survived via her famous diary, she did not. Conversely, Corrie ten Boom was released and became celebrated on the postwar lecture circuit.
It is her reminiscences that inspired "The Hiding Place," Corrie's story adapted by Tim Gregory, and the opening entry of the American Coast Theater Company's fourth season at Costa Mesa's Vanguard University — the ACTC's most ambitious project yet.
While "Anne Frank" ended with the family's capture, "Hiding Place" devotes its entire second act to the captives' brutal treatment at the hands of the Nazis. And, suddenly, the early 1940s seem uncomfortably close at hand.
Susan K. Berkompas directs this searing drama (gripping, but about a half-hour too long) with a strong but tender hand, eliciting some superb performances depicting the crisis conditions that prevailed at the Nazi death camps. A huge cast of 20 actors — some doubling or tripling in "good" or "evil" roles — underscores the play's authenticity.