UPDATE: ‘We Don’t Want to Forget’: Corrie Ten Boom’s The Hiding Place Comes to Life for a New Generation
Film is set to run in theaters TOMORROW.
Editor’s note: Due to high demand after its initial theatrical run, The Hiding Place will run in select theaters nationwide tomorrow, August 9, and perhaps later, according to a press release about the film. Tickets are available at thehidingplacefilm.com.
“We don’t want to forget Corrie’s story. I don’t think we can risk that. But if we don’t continually retell our stories, that’s exactly what happens.” Pete Peterson, playwright and producer of The Hiding Place, an adaptation of the book by Corrie Ten Boom with the same title, fell in love with the story when he read the book, he told The Stream’s Nancy Flory. So when he was tapped to create the adaptation for a filmed stage play, he jumped at the chance.
The film is set to run in theaters nationwide today, Thursday, August 3, and again on Saturday, August 5.
Pete knew he couldn’t write the play based on just reading the book. He and his wife traveled to Haarlem in the Netherlands, where Corrie and her family had lived. They visited the concentration camp where Corrie and her family were taken during the Holocaust for hiding Jews in their home. “I came home with [what] felt like was a real sense of the breadth and depth of the story that I couldn’t have had if it was just based on having read the book.”
The filmed stage play follows the book closely. Writing the script to do that wasn’t easy. “It’s always challenging when you’re adapting a book that covers 20 years and a whole lot of detail and you’ve only got two hours on screen or stage to tell the same story. … But that’s part of the fun of it.”
A Good God
Pete wants audiences to wrestle with hard ideas. “I think my biggest takeaway from the writing experience was an opportunity to really wrestle with a lot of ideas about how we believe in a good God in the midst of suffering. Even after [Corrie’s] experience, that was just the beginning of her life in some ways. She spent the rest of her life traveling the world testifying to her experience and to Jesus, which is really remarkable. So, there’s a sense in which The Hiding Place itself, the story, and Corrie are part of the cloud of witnesses that we have.”
For me, as a comfortable American that maybe has a hard time understanding how Betsie Ten Boom can stand in a concentration camp and say, ‘Thank you for fleas’ — whether I fully understand that or not is almost irrelevant because what we have [are] these witnesses who have been there and they’re saying, ‘Hey, look, you haven’t been where we’ve been, but we’ve seen things and experienced things you haven’t and we are witnesses to something so that you can understand even though you haven’t been here.’ Thankfully, we’ve got witnesses up there like Corrie and Betsie and Caspar. They’re able to say, ‘Hey, the world is darker and more beautiful that you have imagined.’
The Hero of the Story
The cast did a phenomenal job, Pete said. He’d written the part of Corrie for actress Nan Gurley, who captured the essence of Corrie incredibly well. “It’s just been wonderful to see her go at it. She’s phenomenal.”
But Pete doesn’t want people to come away thinking that Corrie was the hero of the story. “I’ve said before that lots of people think Corrie Ten Boom is the hero of The Hiding Place. And I say, ‘No, it’s Betsie.’ I had this strong, such a strong feeling that Betsie was the core of this story, that I wanted to make sure that we told the story in a way that made that clear. The story is just full of fascinating themes that are not easy to grapple with. And that makes for good storytelling.”
View the trailer: