Adapted from the book Sala’s Gift by Ann Kirschner and based on a true account, LETTERS TO SALA is a remarkable story of a young girl’s survival during wartime Germany. Five years. Seven Nazi labor camps. Over 350 hidden letters. Sala Garncarz Kirschner kept her secret for over fifty years, concealing her incredibly painful history in a Spill and Spell box. Everything changes when Sala reveals the cache to her grown daughter, Ann. LETTERS TO SALA draws from the emotional journeys that begin for both Ann and Sala when the letters resurface. Through scholarly research, Ann discovers that her mother has made a historically significant impact on Holocaust documentation. As Ann processes her own reaction to her mother’s story, her daughters, Caroline and Elisabeth, also realize for the first time the weight of their Jewish heritage. Simultaneously, Ann’s study of the letters throws Sala into the past again. She relives her youth, recalling her naïve 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. Playwright Arlene Hutton drives the two stories to a single question: What is to be done with these letters? If Sala risked her life to hold onto them as a young woman imprisoned in a work camp, are they merely the emotionally rich relics of her past life? Or are they worthy and important historical documents that demand to be shared with the public? Three generations of Kirschner women must work together to sift through the past and come to terms with the true gravity of Sala’s letters. Sala’s letters, which were displayed in a special exhibition at the New York Public Library in 2006, are an important addition to Holocaust research, called, as one journalist noted, “the greatest find since Anne Frank’s diary.”
Joshua Casburn is honored to be the director of such an amazing cast. Joshua attended Wheaton College and earned a BA in Communications: Theater, and a BA in English. At Wheaton, he was proud to be part of the“Workout” theatre troupe, as it had a profound influence on him artistically. After college, he and other “Workout” alums developed their own theater, Spendrift Theater Company, based out of Glen Ellyn, IL. Mr. Casburn has directed many plays at BHS. Some of his recent directing credits at BHS include productions of Animal Farm, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, and Pride and Prejudice. Mr. Casburn also has experience producing films. He won “Best Picture” and “Best Screenplay” at the Wheaton College Class Film Festival. He spent some time in Hollywood at the Act One Screenwriting program and has also studied screenwriting in Chicago. He also has a Masters of Arts in Teaching from National Louis University, and teaches Creative Writing, Theater Arts, and Film as Literature at BHS. His teaching and artistic endeavors are extensions of his most important, most fulfilling job: being a husband to his AMAZING wife Heidi, and a father to four wonderful kids: Hailey, Logan, Elise, and Brendan. “I’m so proud and blessed to have worked with all of these talented young students.