Mia Finsler plays Anne Frank, who begins documenting her life while her family hides to avoid Nazi death camps. / Back Alley Productions contributed photo

Back Alley Productions explores faith and family during a dark period in history when the North Georgia theatrical group opens "The Diary of Anne Frank" on Friday, Nov. 15, for six performances.

Set in the 1940s, "The Diary of Anne Frank" details the firsthand experiences of a young Jewish girl while she and her family hide during the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam. As they live out their days in a secret room in an attempt to escape arrest from the Nazis, Anne writes about hope and family and the importance of faith.

"Anne was one of the most important and powerful figures of the 20th century," says director Madison Smith. "She represents so many things to many people; but at her heart, she is a girl of optimism and perseverance. By bringing her story to life onstage, we hope to help keep her memory alive. There's such a powerful and warm ethos in her writing. She faces more persecution at a young age than most of us ever will in our entire lives. Most of us would despair, but she responds with grace, even when her family and friends are hiding for their lives."

There's a certain level of humility in bringing a historical drama to life, Smith says.

If you go

* What: “Diary of Anne Frank”

* Where: Mars Theatre, 117 N. Chattanooga Ave., LaFayette, Georgia

* When: 7:30 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, 2:30 p.m. Sundays, Nov. 15-24

* Admission: $15 and $13

* For more information:

"These aren't characters in a fictional story. They're not even characters loosely based off real people. These are real humans who went through something unthinkable and shocking. There's a gravity and respect in what we're doing, but we know that it's so important to tell these stories because they tell us so much about humanity: how deeply evil it can be and how miraculously hopeful and loving it is in the face of darkness."

Despite the heaviness of the themes, Smith encourages families to come to the show.

"The production deals directly with the toll of the holocaust, but — even in the face of that darkness — Anne continued to be funny and inspiring," Smith adds.

"It's up to (parental) discretion on who in your family is mature enough for this show, but we deal with Anne's story in a tasteful, tactful way. Most importantly, the story pulls directly from Anne's actual experiences. The cast has really brought me to tears with their commitment to bringing Anne and her family to stage as best we can. We hope that by continuing her memory we do our small part in honoring her legacy."

The production stars Mia Finsler in the title role, joined by Jacqueline Ellis, Dick Chandler, Cynthia Hubler, Kevin Baskette, Jeremiah Rapier, Ashley Johnson, Megan Allen, Gavin Russell and Cody Robinson Steele.

For more information: 706-621-2870.

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Otto Frank, Anne's father, is played by Kevin Baskette. / Back Alley Productions contributed photo

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