This weekend, join the New Bedford High School Drama Club as they present “Letters to Sala” in the NBHS Bronspiegel Auditorium.
Based on a true account, the dramatic play is adapted from the book Sala’s Gift by Ann Kirschner. This is the heart-wrenching story of a young girl’s survival during wartime Germany over five years, in seven Nazi labor camps, and how she kept over 350 hidden letters. Sala Garncarz Kirschner kept her secret letters for over fifty years, concealing her painful history in a board game box. LETTERS TO SALA draws from the emotional journeys that begin for Sala and her grown daughter, Ann, when the letters resurface. Through scholarly research, Ann realizes that her mother’s letters have made a historically significant impact on Holocaust documentation. Ann’s study of the letters throws Sala into the past again as she relives her youth, recalling her desire for adventure, the disillusionment of her life in the work camps, and her loss of communication with the outside world as the war progressed around her.
Always trying to provide new challenges for their students, Drama Club directors Sarah Cadieux Pacheco and Aaron Valente felt it was time to tackle a serious, historical drama. Valente explains that “For many drama club students, this is the first time they are portraying people that really existed in the world. This poses a set of unique challenges but also the ability for the actors to consider authenticity in performance. Many students have done research and infused what they learned into their character development. We are proud of their advanced work.”
Ashley Cowles, senior and Drama Club president is playing Ann, the daughter of the title character. She explains that “In today’s world, ‘Letters to Sala’ reminds us not only to look back on our past mistakes, but continue to learn from and educate others on the proven dangers of ignorance and hatred. It must be acknowledged that revisiting these topics, though dark, is crucial to our survival. On a separate note, I encourage all to support our talented cast and crew, as this production is a brilliant example of their dedication to this activity.”
Letters to Sala is being performed at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, December 6 and Saturday, December 7. There is a matinee performance at 2:00 p.m., Sunday, December 8. Tickets are $10 for students/seniors and $12 for adults, and are available at the door.