Protective Custody PRISONER 34042 is a raw and impactful play written by Charles LaBorde and based on the memoir of well-known Charlotte Holocaust survivor Dr. Susan Cernyak-Spatz.
Protective Custody PRISONER 34042 brings the audience along on Susan’s personal experiences as a young woman in Europe during the rise of Nazism and her riveting survival of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camps. A universal story of survival and the strength of the human spirit in the most extreme circumstances, the story is told beautifully by a two-person cast as they bring Susan’s experience to life and reflect on the current rise of antisemitism.
The world premiere of Protective Custody PRISONER 34042 was presented in November 2019 by Three Bone Theatre under the direction of famed Charlotte director Dennis Delamar. The original run sold out and left audiences inspired and moved.
In 2021, the original creative team returned to the theatre to capture the magic of this story on camera. This new version, professionally-filmed by Will Jenkins and the team at SimplisticPhobia, brings the magic of the theatre experience into your home or classroom.
Protective Custody PRISONER 34042 is sponsored by Culture Blocks- a community partnership funded by Mecklenburg County.
The original production of Protective Custody PRISONER 34042 was supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Susan was an educator and felt strongly that her story should be used to teach the community about the Holocaust and the dangers of bigotry, antisemitism and the fragility of democracy.
We have partnered with the Stan Greenspon Center for Peace and Social Justice to provide additional information about Susan's experience and the Holocaust. Download the study guide for additional historical context, definitions, reflection questions and optional assignments.
In April 2021 we hosted two live virtual events to learn more about this project and Susan's life. You can register to watch the replay of the events below.
Peek Behind the Curtain Protective Custody PRISONER 34042
Ever wonder what it takes to mount the world premiere of a new play? Go behind the scenes Protective Custody PRISONER 34042 with playwright Charles LaBorde, director Dennis Delamar, costume designer Magda Guichard and Jackie Fishman, daughter of Susan Cernyak-Spatz.
Holocaust Education and Anti-Oppression Action in our Community
Join local educators Jackie Fishman, Donna Tarney and John Cox to discuss the importance of first person Holocaust narratives in 2021. This conversation will provide important historical context to Susan's personal experience in Protective Custody PRISONER 34042, connecting it to other forms of bigotry, oppression and genocide. We invite you to discuss what we can learn from these stories and how this impacts us NOW.
Virtual Message Board
We want to hear how Protective Custody PRISONER 34042 impacted you. Please share your thoughts and reactions on our virtual message board. Not sure how to put your thoughts into words? Upload a photo, draw a picture or even share a video. Tell or show us how Susan's story is relevant to YOU.
Meet the cast and creative team
Leslie cannot express what an honor it is to take on such a special project! This Anderson SC native and Winthrop University Alum has called Charlotte her home since 2006. She was last seen with Three Bone Theatre last season in APPROPRIATE (Rachael). You may also recognize her from her 10+ years of touring with Children’s Theatre of Charlotte’s Resident Touring Company (formally the Tarradiddle Players), or from the ambitious two person THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE (Lucy/White Witch) and world premiere of LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET (Butterfly Lady). Currently she is rehearsing with Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte for SILENCE: THE MUSICAL! (opens Aug 15!), and can be found this December singing for her 3rd year in a row at Carowinds Winterfest in SOUNDS OF THE NATIVITY (D&G Entertainment). Proudly represented by JTA. When not performing she loves getting to hang out with her longtime boyfriend Michael, and their two adorable cats Penny & Ziggy!
Paula Baldwin most recently appeared as Aunt Eller in Oklahoma! with CPCC Summer Theatre where she also directed Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap. A familiar face to Charlotte audiences, some of her favorite productions include The Grapes of Wrath, Sister Act, The Actress, August: Osage County, Who’s Afraid Virginia Woolf? A Streetcar Named Desire, Foxfire, Barefoot in the Park and Angels in America. Paula began her teaching career with CMS following sixteen years as a professional actor and currently heads the theatre arts program at Independence High School. She holds an MFA in Acting/Directing from UNC-Greensboro and a BA in Theatre from Catawba College.
Actress- The Dresser
Charles LaBorde has been an actor, director, designer, and playwright, as well as an arts educator and administrator throughout his lifetime. He holds a Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in theatre and doctoral certification in educational administration from the University of North Carolina. He was the founder of the high school at Northwest School of the Arts in Charlotte, where he served as principal for 15 years until his retirement in 2008. He has received 11 regional and state directing awards, a national directing award from the National Youth Theatre, and numerous awards for scenic, costume, lighting, and sound design from the North Carolina Theatre Conference. As a playwright he has received two national and four regional playwriting awards and has had his play, Memorial, performed in New York, across the nation, and in Europe. That play remains in print more than twenty-five years after its initial publication. His most recent plays are Affinity—about Frank Lloyd Wright and the murders at Taliesen—and Unbound—about the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk, NC. In 2010 he was named both Best Actor in a Drama and Theatre Person of the Year by Creative Loafing and was awarded the Marian Smith Lifetime Career Achievement Award by NCTC. He was also honored by having the black box theatre at Northwest School of the Arts renamed the Charles LaBorde Theatre. He is a full member of The Dramatists Guild, Inc.—the professional theatre union of playwrights, composers, and lyricists.
The award winning Charlotte actor, director and retired NC public school teacher is a personal friend of Susan CernyakSpatz since falling for her respectfully and lovingly at the theatre in the 1980’s, a place they both share as a source of joy, inspiration and truth. Having directed the Pulitzer and Tony winning one person, German-set drama I Am My Own Wife for Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte, Dennis envisioned Susan’s incredible story as a stage play with a similar far reaching significant impact. With Jackie Fishman’s encouragement, the collaboration began with his longtime friend, kindred thespian and fellow educator Charles LaBorde adapting Susan’s already published memoir into a two person script. From there, development of the piece continues with two of Charlotte’s finest actresses, Three Bone Theatre and many other encouraging supporters and backers. “Such a privilege to be here to help tell Susan’s vital story of survival and to keep the sobering truth alive for generations to come. Never again.”
Callie Richards is honored to be stage manager for another Three Bone Theatre production. She has been involved with Three Bone since its first show in Charlotte both on stage and behind the scenes. This show and season begins her 5th season as production manager for the company. Amidst her theatre activities, Callie is a student working on finishing her bachelor's degree in biology at UNCG, competes in competitive pole sport and spends time with her husband Matthew and dog Ripley.
Sir Will is a Digital Content Creator specializing in video, film, and photography. His main focus is women of color because of his connection to women that raised and influenced him. “I am a 1st generation creative in my family.” Viewers instantly connect with the colors and warmth of his images & films also known as conversational portraits as shared by the artist because he believes everyone has a relatable story to tell. Everyone can find a connection through conversation and listening. Since opening and co-owning BLKMRKTCLT he’s been able to fully develop those conversations into creating opportunities for other upcoming artists of color. Through various grants and workshops, he’s been able to give the educational and business tips needed for other artists to operate.
Magda Guichard is a professional costume designer and craft specialist. She has her MFA in Production Design (Costumes) from Savannah College of Art and Design and her BS from Florida State University. Magda has worked professionally in Kentucky and North Carolina for the last seven years, landing in Charlotte at Children’s Theatre of Charlotte as a designer in 2011 and becoming full-time in 2014 as Design Assistant and Crafts Specialist. Magda designs several mainstage productions each year for Children’s Theatre in addition to her full-time position. Some of her favorite projects include designing and building a 30-foot dragon puppet for Children Theatre’s production of The Reluctant Dragon and designing the high-fashion animal world for Children Theatre’s production of Madagascar. Magda holds a costume design award from the South Eastern Theatre Conference and Metrolina Theatre Association awards for her work on TALES FROM POE and RED BADGE OF COURAGE.
For over 20 years, he has been involved in hundreds of shows, in various positions, at many venues. Ryan has worked for Flagler Auditorium, Riverside Theatre, Seaside Music Theatre, Davidson Community Players, Children's Theatre of Charlotte and the Ballantyne Arts Center. He is the Technical Director of Three Bone Theatre.