Have you always loved the play The Diary of Anne Frank but felt it was missing something -- like a rubber chicken, whoopee cushion, or Hitler getting a pie in the face while Eva Braun slipped on a banana peel? Such was the thinking of performer Frannie Sheridan when she sat down to pen her family's story in Confessions of a Jewish Shiksa...Dancing on Hitler's Grave!.
Although the play is downright hokey and sprinkled with some genuine gut-busters every now and again (such as matzo balls as ornaments on a Christmas tree and an angel's halo mistaken for a bagel), it's spurred by a powerful and fascinating true story.
Raised Catholic, 9-year-old Frannie's life turned upside down when her
father let it slip that her family is actually Jewish. Because her dad
narrowly escaped the Holocaust and was the victim of a horribly
anti-Semitic act after fleeing to Canada, the Sheridans (or rather, the
Sigals) regarded their ancestry as a dangerous secret. When Sheridan
finds out the truth, comedy ensues. Sort of.
Although the true story behind Confessions is dramatic enough, and the play has an important message to impart about acceptance and tolerance, the script and production could use some tough love. Sheridan should write another draft, have it edited by someone she's not closely associated with, and think about employing a full cast of actors to portray the characters. That could make the final product less self-centered. If acceptance is the theme of this play, Sheridan may want to accept this friendly advice. Look for our full review in this week's issue.
See Confessions at Area Stage (1560 S Dixie Hwy., Coral Gables) every weekend until February 12. Tickets cost $10 to $25. Call 305-666-2078 or visit areastagecompany.com.