Letters to Sala 11/3/16- Carly DeCock

Dear Sala,

It’s Thursday afternoon and I just finished my last day of school for this week. Tomorrow, our team of 18 wonderful cast and crew members will be traveling to the last two Pittsburgh-area schools on our list, and guess what? One of them is mine! I couldn’t be more ecstatic to share your story with my peers at Upper St. Clair High School. For the last two weeks, I’ve been carrying a pile of sign-up sheets in my backpack and passing them out with pride to many of my friends and classmates. Every time someone took a permission slip expressing interest, I tingled with excitement. (I know it’s cheesy, but it’s very true!)

I have admired you and your story ever since I first read the description of Letters to Sala. Volunteering to go to a labor camp in your older sister’s place? Your bravery (at sixteen years old, and overall) leaves me speechless. When Little Lake Theatre first performed Letters to Sala last Fall, I got to know you through my portrayal of three different people, each of whom impacted your life in the camps (and long after that): Frymka Rabinowicz, Elfriede Pache and Gucia Gutman. For this tour, I am honored to have the opportunity to actually tell your story through your perspective, and I can only hope I am doing it justice. My favorite part of this whole experience has been getting to meet many new people who share my immense respect for you, whether they are members of the cast, representatives from Classrooms Without Borders (the generous and selfless individuals who made this tour possible), or the students at each school who are hearing your story for the first time. Every new face I encounter fills me with joy as I know they will take something away from this experience. I know I have.

It’s a weird feeling to know that tomorrow is our last school tour day. After that, we will have our final two performances at Carnegie Mellon University and Duquesne University, and then we will finish our tour. What we will not finish, however, is the telling of your story and the spreading of Holocaust awareness. We as a generation must work to make sure this time in our history never repeats itself. We will not be silent. Thank you for not giving up; you are a hero in my eyes.

Love, Carly DeCock (Young Sala)

Letters to Sala 10/28/16- Alexis Feldman

Dear Sala,

Words cannot expressed how grateful I am to play a part in sharing your story. A story such as yours needs to be shown to the world, and I know going to schools to tell the story to students like me is making a lasting impact. On Friday we went to Winchester Thurston and Taylor Allderdice, and the two audiences could not be more different! At Winchester Thurston, everybody was as very quiet, yet it was clear that the audience was hanging onto every word spoken in the play. At Taylor Allerdice, the crowd was more audible, but the mood changed as the story progressed. That is how I knew that the students were deeply engaged in your story. Taylor Allderdice was our second show, and that is the school that my dad went to! Walking inside of the school my dad once studied in, let alone performing on the stage, was an unforgettable experience. As my family motto, my dad always says, “Know something. Do something. Be something.” At out show, I discovered that these very words were engraved on the school’s stage. I feel this quote perfectly captures my experience in this production. I know your story, I took part in the play, and I became the roles of your friends, Sara and Rachel. After the show, a girl approached some of the cast members and thanked us for sharing this story. In that moment, I truly knew I was making a difference for the better. I had no idea that I had friends in both audiences, but when I saw them later in the week, they came up to me with loads of excitement. My friends were so proud to now know your story, Sala. Every time I perform your story, I receive a deeper knowledge of not only our world’s past, buts its future. Thank you, thank you, thank you for everything Sala
Mazel Tov,
Alexis Feldman :)

Letters to Sala 10/21/16- Allison Cahill

Dearest Sala,
First, may I say it is such an honor to play your mother. I am so moved by your courage and faith that enabled you to save these precious letters and endure such a horrible time. I listen to every performance and am inspired further.
Last Friday started very very early with rain and cramped space for set up.
We were missing one of our actors until 10 minutes before start time. Everyone was so happy to see her safe and sound. We hugged and kissed her, helped her get dressed and set her props.
It felt like the cast knitted even closer together to each other.
This is a very special group of people. You would be so proud to see their work.
Before performances there is laughter and love bouncing all over the place as we set up, and then when the lights go down, everyone comes together with such focus and force to tell your story as sincerely as we can.
The emotions and tears are intensely real. We become one voice for you and your family.
The first audience Friday seemed a little scrappy. I was afraid they wouldn’t “get it.”But as the performance went on, they got quieter and quieter and I know they were moved by your story.
Their questions were urgent and heart felt. They really wanted to know “did Sala find her sisters?” “what happened to her parents?”.
They asked specific questions about the camps and events and Jena gave such detailed and articulate answers. We have learned so much from the knowledge and experience she brought back from Poland.
During the two hour drive to our next school in Akron, I got to sit in the back between Paige (Elfriede) and James (Chaim). We talked all about their hopes and dreams for their future. What they wanted to do with their lives, and I couldn’t help think, YOU were their age when you were taken to the camps.
The second school was downright elegant and collegiate. We were very warmly welcomed and ushered to a comfortable spacious room just off the stage, complete with tray of cookies and sweet orange/mint water.
It was wonderfully decadent.
The students were very well behaved and studious. Their questions were soulful. One little boy looked bewildered and asked, “What was the purpose of killing all those people.” I just started to cry because I remembered feeling like that as a child. Not being able to comprehend all the hate and murder of the holocaust.
It was also gratifying to see that your story touched and moved and CHANGED these students. The monumental feat of your saving the letters is helping to foster compassion and mindfulness in future generations. And so there is HOPE  they will grow up to be diligent adults who will create and defend a peaceful humanity.
It is truly humbling and a profoundly rewarding experience to share your story.
Thank you doesn’t say enough, Sala. We love you deeply.
Allison Cahill (Chana)

Letters to Sala- 10/21/16 Lindy Spear

Dear Sala,
   I am so proud to be in this show.  Your story inspires me every day. Last Friday our shows were amazing!  The audiences were so engaged . One boy around my age (12) said, “That play was truly beautiful.”  At the talk backs, the audience has asked us about us, but mostly about your story. You should see their faces when we talk about your life!  It’s so inspiring to see what they look like before the show, and then after. I think this show is really interesting for them to see that kids their age or younger left their families and went to labor camps.
     I think if you were here, you would have so much fun traveling with us!  Last Friday, it was awful rain and storms all day! We were soaking wet when we got out of the car to go into the first theatre. After a successful show, we all had hoped it would have stopped raining….but it didn’t!!!! We ran into Giant Eagle to get some lunch because our next show was two hours away. We ate donuts and bagels in the car, and I had so much fun getting to know my castmates better!
    I’m looking forward to seeing what adventures we encounter this Friday! Thanks for letting us share your story!
Lindy Spear
Seventh grader
P.S.- I play your niece Salusia in the play