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Manlius Pebble Hill presents Anne Frank play

Middle School students at Manlius Pebble Hill School will present the play, “Anne Frank & Me,” Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The play is the frequently humorous, yet a heart-rending account of how a teenage girl comes to understand the Holocaust. Director Louis DiNolfi says playwright Cherie Bennett employs an almost “Wizard of Oz”-like plot technique.

A current-day teenager, Nicole, doubts that the Holocaust actually occurred, but after hitting her head in a car accident, awakens to find herself in the past — and part of a Jewish family living in Paris and facing the Nazi assault of the 1940s.

Just as Dorothy in the “Wizard of Oz” awoke to find the Tin Man, the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion, who resembled people in her real life, Nicole awakens to find herself surrounded by people who resemble her own family and friends.

Following her experiences in Nazi-occupied Paris and her remarkable encounter with Anne Frank on a train carrying them to Auschwitz, Nicole finds herself once again in the present — and now a believer in (and in fact, a witness to) the events of World War II.

The cast of students in grades six to eight portrays 18 main characters and a supporting ensemble of 14 actors. To further students’ understanding of the subject matter, middle school faculty members are working collectively to link issues raised in the play to curriculum.

“The hope is that, in tying the play to the school curriculum, students will develop a deeper, more personal understanding of that time in history,” DiNolfi said, noting that “Anne Frank and Me” was written as an age-appropriate play for middle school students.

Performances will be held in the school’s Coville Theater at 7:30 p.m. each day with a 2 p.m. show on Sunday. General admission tickets ($8) are available by calling 446-2452, ext. 120.