Cruiser Theatre Company to perform “Letters to Sala”


By Rick Palsgrove
Southeast Editor

Messenger photo by Rick Palsgrove
Members of Groveport Madison High School’s Cruiser Theatre Company rehearsing a scene from “Letters to Sala.” Pictured here along with their characters’ names are, from left to right: Fiona Finneran (Raizel), Jozlin Taylor (Elizabeth), Alizay Grobler (Caroline), Kayla Parker (Ann), Ava Myers (young Sala), and Addie Peelle (old Sala).

Live theatre has the power to illuminate as well as provide a focus on real world issues for an audience.

With this in mind, Groveport Madison High School’s Cruiser Theatre Company will perform the powerful drama, “Letters to Sala” on Nov. 9, 10, and 11 at 7 p.m. at Groveport Madison High School.

The play is based on the true account of a young girl’s survival in Germany during World War II. Sala Garncarz Kirschner spent five years in seven different Nazi labor camps. During this time she kept hundreds of letters hidden from her captors. After the war she hid the letters from her family for 50 years until one day the letters are revealed to her daughter, Ann. Ann believes the letters are an important historical documentation of the Holocaust and must be shared, but conflict arises when other family members are reluctant to make them public. The resurfacing of the letters also prompt Sala to relive her past.

“It’s a beautifully written script that tastefully addresses serious real world issues,” said Cruiser Theatre Company teacher and director Corey Ragan. “Our students have not performed a serious drama recently so this will be a new experience for them. It’s fascinating to see them sink their teeth into it.”

Ragan said the play is a challenge for the students because they are portraying real people and because the script goes back and forth in time.

“The play is written cinematically and is very fluid,” said Ragan. “The actors are handling it well and professionally as always.”

Senior Addie Peelle, who portrays the present day older Sala, said it is a challenge playing someone much older than herself.

“It’s interesting to see how Sala’s experiences in the labor camps affected her and her family,” said Peelle. “Imagine how she felt. I’ve done a lot of research to learn about how she got through the emotional turmoil of living it every day.”

Junior Kayla Parker, who portrays Ann, said her character is dedicated and driven to make Sala’s letters public.

“It blinds her sometimes,” said Parker. “She goes through a disconnect with her own daughters about it and that causes a conflict in the family.”

Peelle and Parker said portraying real life people on stage helps them grow as actors.

“I’m used to playing fictional characters,” said Parker. “It’s hard to portray a real person. You don’t want to be over the top.”

“You don’t want the performance to be a caricature,” added Peelle.

Ava Myers, who portrays young Sala, said she is impressed with Sala’s bravery.

“She volunteered to take her sister’s place in the labor camps. Then, while there, she kept all these letters. Had they (her captors) found out they might have killed her for it,” said Myers. “She’s so strong.”

Myers said she wants to embody the character.

“I read some of her letters,” said Myers. “Seeing her letters made it all real and alive.”

Peelle said “Letters for Sala” is important because it tackles serious issues and makes one think.

“It’s a worthwhile show that people should really see,” said Peelle.

Groveport Madison High School’s Cruiser Theatre Company will perform “Letters to Sala” on Nov. 9, 10, and 11 at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium, 4475 S. Hamilton Road, Groveport. Pre-sale tickets at are $5 for adults, $3 for students/seniors, and free for district employees. Tickets at the door are $7 for adults, $5 for students/seniors and free for district employees. Free tickets for all veterans on Nov. 11. “Letters to Sala” is by Arlene Hutton, originally conceived by Lawrence Sachrow and based on the book “Sala’s Gift” by Ann Kirschner.

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