Friday, February 16, 2007

Fair Oaks Teen Takes the Stage

Every couple of weeks, our church produces a news letter called the "Oakleaf." My goal is to write stories highlighting youth group activities or celebrating the achievements of our teens for every issue, and it makes sense to share these stories here on the blog as well, so here is the story I wrote for the "Oakleaf" last week. I hope you enjoy it!

On Friday, February 2nd, a group of Fair Oaks junior highers and youth workers gathered together to watch one of our own take center stage. Fair Oaks eighth-grader Ashley Nichols performed the title role in King’s Valley Christian School’s production of Excerpts from the Diary of Anne Frank.

Playing to a packed house filled with parents, teachers, family and friends, Ashley gave a charming and mature performance, highlighting the difficulties Anne and her family experienced while living in hiding from the Nazis, yet allowing her joy and her irrepressible spirit to shine through.

“It was cool to play [Anne],” Ashley said, “because she’s inspired so many people all over the world. I learned a lot.”

The play depicts the true story of Anne Frank, a Jewish girl who kept a diary while in hiding with her family and four friends during the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam. After living in hiding for two years, the group was betrayed, arrested, and sent off to concentration camps.

Anne’s diary chronicles this entire span and includes her reflections on living in hiding and being a Jew living under Nazi oppression. Though Anne was only 13 when she started the diary, her writing is filled with maturity and insight, and her diary has become widely read around the world. In fact, Eleanor Roosevelt once described Anne’s diary as “one of the wisest and most moving commentaries on war and its impact on human beings that I have ever read.”

A veteran stage performer, Ashley has been acting since the fourth grade. She has played parts in numerous shows, including My Fair Lady, The King and I, Annie (lead), Oliver, South Pacific, and A Christmas Carol. Ashley hopes to perform on Broadway someday.

When asked why she enjoys acting, Ashley said, “It’s really fun to be someone else; the accents, and the costumes, and everything.”

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