Frisco High School

Frisco High Students Take One-Act Play Message to Heart

Jun 05, 2014

Cast Members of Letters to SalaTheatre students at Frisco High School connected online this spring with Ann Kirschner, the daughter of a Holocaust survivor and author of a book that inspired the school’s selection for UIL One-Act Play competition.

“I’ve done theatre since fourth grade and I’ve never been able to talk to the character that I’ve been portraying,” said junior Madison Roth, who played Kirschner in “Letters to Sala.” 

The play was adapted from Kirschner’s book and tells the story of a young girl's survival in wartime Germany.

Sala Garncarz Kirschner, Ann’s mother, was forced to work at seven Nazi labor camps, where she managed to hide and keep safe more than 350 letters from family and friends.

It wasn’t until Ann was grown and had children of her own that Sala revealed her collection of letters and all that she had experienced during World War II.

“It was a really good insight into the Holocaust because traditionally you hear about death camps,” said Daija Nealy, who played Sala’s best friend in the play. “You don’t talk about the hardships and struggles in the labor camps and the ones who had to watch people die.”

Many of the students developed a deep connection to the story and its message. 

“Everyone committed to their character and respected the religion,” Roth said. “It was personal to me being Jewish, but I think we all took away a greater appreciation for what the Holocaust really meant and how it affected generations of families.”

Following the public performance of their One-Act Play, theatre students performed the show for English and history students at Frisco High during the regular school day.

“They played real people - someone who is living or has lived,” said theatre teacher Mary Autrey. “That makes it special, like you’re honoring these people by telling their story.” 

Several members of the cast said although the subject matter was painful, “Letters to Sala” isn’t a sad play. It’s a story of hope.

“Once you go deeper into it, it really touches you,” said Lauren Hickman, who played young Sala. “It really changes your views about everything.”

Autrey Helps Out with Makeup

Letters to Sala