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West Coast Jewish Theatre' s FUGU Now Available Free Online

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West Coast Jewish Theatre' s FUGU Now Available Free Online

We're in the middle of a pandemic and the theatres are closed. Rather than waiting for months until everything re-opens in order to entertain you, West Coast Jewish Theatre will be placing visual records of several of their past productions online for your enjoyment. First up will be its 2017 World Premiere production of the acclaimed play Fugu, presented online via YouTube.

Fugu is suggested by true events. The narrative is set at a time prior to the United States' entry into World War II.

Thanks to the efforts of Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara, 6000 Lithuanian Jews were rescued from the clutches of the Nazis and relocated to Kobe, Japan.

Colonel Nohiro Yasue, Japan's Minister of Foreign Affairs, is stationed in Kobe. The newly settled Jews have established a community there. But their safety may be short-lived. The Gestapo's Colonel Josef Meisinger, a.k.a. The Butcher of Warsaw, is a Nazi liaison at the German Embassy, intent on seeing that no Jews escape alive.

Meanwhile, Col. Yasue has devised a scheme with the objective of seeing to it that Japan and America do not come to blows. The plan is called "Fugu." (You'll have to see the play to get the full significance of the term.) Yasue, mistakenly believing that President Roosevelt is Jewish, selects the leader of the Jewish community, Dr. Avram Kaufman, to be his emissary to contact Washington, Wall Street and Hollywood to convince the U.S.A of Japan's good intentions toward the Jews, serving to avoid Japan's entry into a bloody international war.

Meisinger, intent on eliminating the Jews of Kobe, reminds Yasue of Japan's treaty with Germany and Italy, and demands his cooperation. But Yasue is above all a man of honor, and the Jews are under his sworn protection.

Complicating matters for Yasue and Kaufman is the fact that Kaufman's beautiful daughter Sarah and Yasue's top aide Setsuzo Kotsuji have fallen in love and have embarked on a forbidden romance.

Can a Jewish woman and a Japanese man find love amidst the shadows of war? Can their love possibly survive?

Can the brave and honorable Yasue, Kotsuji and Kaufman thwart the machinations of the murderous Nazis?

Howard Teichman and Steven G. Simon are the playwrights. Teichman also directs and produces. He is the Artistic Director of West Coast Jewish Theatre. His directing credits include The Whipping Man; Luv; Last of the Red Hot Lovers; Sarah Sarah; The Value of Names; Lost in Yonkers; Rumors; Simcha (which he also wrote); much more.

Simon's other plays include Kindred Spirits; Back Bar; and Wilding.

The cast for Fugu includes (in alphabetical order): Peter Altschuler, Warren Davis, Matt Gotlieb, Marcel Licera, Kaz Matamura, Ryan Moriarity, Rosie Moss, David Preston, Scott Keiji Takeda, and Bryna Weiss.

Danger, romance, war, intrigue and the grand sweep of historical events combine to create the compelling story that is Fugu.

The YouTube presentation is an archival visual recording of an actual performance. You can access it for free by going to https://youtu.be/R-xUdVDqZCk

When originally produced in 2017, Fugu was designated a Top Ten play by the publication Stage Raw.

Although the online presentation of Fugu is free, the West Coast Jewish Theatre is a 501c3 non-profit organization and appreciates and accepts voluntary donations at http://wcjt.org in support of its ongoing creative endeavors.


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