The first scene of act 1 in "The Diary of Anne Frank" by Goodrich and Hackett starts in 1945 after the war. Mr. Frank goes back to the annex with Miep to say good-bye. This is when Miep gives him Anne's diary. When he sits down to read it, the play flashes back to the the time when the Franks and Van Daans first went into hiding. Scene 1 ends with Anne's voice, as if from the diary, describing the day that her family had to get up early, put on layers of clothing, and walk through the streets to the Secret Annex.
Scene 2 shows the two families arriving at the annex and getting acquainted. Mr. Frank goes over the rules which mostly have to do with being quiet during the day while people are at work in the warehouse. The audience also learns that Peter has a cat with him; that Margot and Mrs. Frank have fragile nerves; and that Anne has a positive outlook on life. However, when Anne attempts to run downstairs to the office for a pencil, she learns for the first time what it means to be in hiding--she's never allowed to leave the annex. To comfort her, Mr. Frank says the following:
"It'll be hard, I know. But always remember this, Anneke. There are no walls, there are no bolts, no locks that anyone can put on your mind."
Act 1, scene 3 shows a day in the life of those in hiding. After six o'clock Anne gets a burst of energy from being quiet all day. She wants to dance and sing, but others are mostly annoyed by her. The audience gets to know the other characters, too. Mrs. Van Daan is a materialistic debutant who misses her things and flirts with Mr. Frank. Mr. Van Daan is a selfish cigarette smoker and rude to his son. Peter and Margot are shy. Mrs. Frank remembers her manners as the hostess, but Anne complains that she treats her like a baby. By the end of this scene, Mr. Dussel joins the Franks and the Van Daans in the annex and becomes Anne's roommate. It also seems to Anne that she has no friends other than her father because she can't get along with anyone but him.
Act 1, scene 4 is about Anne's nightmares and struggling to overcome her immature self in an effort to get along better with others. When she asks her father for advice, he says the following:
"There is so little that we parents can do to help our children. We can only try to set a good example . . . point the way. The rest you must do yourself. You must build your own character."
Anne comes up with a way to build her own character in act 1, scene 5 during the Hanukkah holiday. She makes personalized gifts for each person in the annex to show how much she cares and that she is trying to behave maturely. Unfortunately, the joy doesn't last long because they hear a burglar downstairs are frightened. In an effort to turn off the lights, Peter loses his balance and accidentally drops a lamp on the floor, which possibly notifies the burglar that someone is living above.
Act 2, scene 1 starts off on New Year's Day as Miep and Mr. Kraler bring their friends a cake. Before Miep and Mr. Kraler leave, Mr. Kraler tells Mr. Frank that a workman has asked for twenty guilders more a week after hinting that he knows the Franks are hiding upstairs. Mr. Kraler asks to know what to do about him. Mr. Frank says to pay the man half to see if it really is blackmail or not. This information creates a heightened sense of danger since the burglary incident a couple of weeks before. A huge argument erupts after Miep and Mr. Kraler leave. Anne explodes at the adults for their childish behavior and Peter comforts her.
Act 2, scene 2, shows Anne and Peter meeting in his room for another date. The mothers are a little bit concerned, but the two teenagers meet anyway. Anne receives a kiss on the cheek from Peter at the end of their date.
Act 2, scene 3 is when Mr. Van Daan is caught stealing food in the middle of the night. Everyone thought that the rats were to blame but the culprit is finally exposed. Mrs. Frank is so angry that she decides that Mr. and Mrs. Van Daan will leave as soon as a new hiding place can be found for them. She lectures Mr. Van Daan about stealing bread from children and offers to pay for them to leave. Another argument erupts, but that changes as soon as Miep arrives to tell them that the Allies have landed in Normandy and the invasion has begun.
Then, in Act 2, scene 4, Anne and the others have not heard from Miep nor Mr. Kraler in a few days and it doesn't sound like anyone is working in the warehouse below. The phone downstairs rings off the hook and Mr. Dussel demands that Mr. Frank answer it. It is the end. Soon, the Nazis storm the building and they are all captured.
The flashback returns to 1945 where Miep and Mr. Frank have finished reading the diary. Mr. Frank tells Miep that he remembers Anne being happy to finally be outside once they were sent on the trains to camps. The play ends with Anne saying the following:
"In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart."