Jesuit Play “Final Letters” solemnly contemplates historic tragedy

Plank Article Oliver Leinberger ’23 Brandon Curry ’25

This fall, Jesuit High School Sacramento’s Black Box Theater will perform the upcoming play “Final Letters,” a company-created performance that illustrates historical letters from victims of the Holocaust in Nazi Germany.

Jesuit Drama Artistic Director Mr. Ed Trafton ’84, the director of this solemn play, details what this production will entail. 

“The piece will be made up of a series of letters from Yad Vashem Archive written by Jewish people prior to and during World War Two as they were being rounded up, sent to segregated ghettos, and ultimately transported to concentration camps, [or] death camps,” Mr. Trafton said.

Mr. Trafton is dedicated to making this production both accurate and meaningful with help from Mrs. Mary Friedman, who teaches the Holocaust course at Jesuit, who is advising Trafton to ensure this play is as historically accurate and tasteful as possible. 

“We are so excited to be collaborating with Mrs. Friedman,” Mr. Trafton said. “She will be guiding us in our research [and] helping us along as we create this project.” 

Mr. Trafton and Mrs. Friedman could not have created this production without the students. Production Stage Manager Griffin Achondo ’23 describes his contribution to “Final Letters.”

“Being the [Production Stage Manager] means helping out during rehearsals by coming early to set up for the day along with helping to run rehearsal, cleaning up after rehearsal, and having production meetings after every rehearsal,” Griffin said. “Another responsibility I have is helping the newer technicians learn the basics and answering any questions they might have.”

Liam Delaney ’23, another student involved in the play, describes what he is looking forward to most when people come to see the show. 

“[I am looking forward to] being on stage,” Liam said. “[I am also excited to spread] the word of this. [The Holocaust] is a very, very serious topic that needs to be talked about.”

Even 80 years later, the Holocaust still looms large in human memory as a tragedy that can’t be forgotten in today’s society so that continued awareness can work to counter contemporary forms of antisemitism. Mr. Trafton describes how “Final Letters” hopes to help. 

“I’m looking forward to the post-show forums that will feature not only our cast, crew, and Mrs. Friedman, but other members of our Jesuit High community, local religious and civic leaders, and leaders from Sacramento’s Jewish community,” Trafton said. “Antisemitism is alarmingly on the rise in our country, and our hope is that our play can bring increased awareness to this issue and contribute to a productive dialogue about it.”

The fall play “Final Letters” is expected to be remarkable, highly informative, and overall another spectacular production from Jesuit’s Black Box Theater. If you’re interested in watching, the play will show from Nov. 4 until Nov. 13.