The history of World War II and the impact of the Nazis on the world is documented in a variety of literature, films and theater, but a new production at Anacortes Community Theatre takes a different path.
No matter how often it is written about, though, some stories remain a surprise to viewers and readers, director Callie Martin said.
Martin is directing the newest play at ACT, “Number the Stars.” Based on the novel by Lois Lowry, it tells the story of a family in Denmark and the impact the Nazis and World War II had on them.
Martin said she wanted to tell this story because she doesn’t think many people overlook the story of the rescue of Danish Jews. In addition to the adaptation of the Lowry story written by Douglas W. Larche, Martin wrote pieces for the actors to speak directly to the audience between scenes.
To write those monologues, Martin read through several books and pulled out stories about Danish people who were persecuted by Nazis. She wanted to make sure the audience learns the history.
The main storyline follows best friends Annemarie Johansen (Estella Walsh, 15) and Ellen Rosen (Siobhan Gross, 13) and their families. Annemarie helps hide Ellen, a Jewish girl, in her home with her family (pretending she is their older sister, who actually died earlier in the war), and then helps her escape.
Walsh said Annemarie doesn’t think she is brave, but she really is. She just wants her friends to stay together and be happy, Walsh said.
The play features strong stories from both the young girls and adults. It focuses on caring about people and helping your neighbors, whether you know them or not, Martin said. The show is in the holiday slot at the theater not because it is a holiday show but because it is about compassion, love and friendship, she said.