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'THE PINK DRESS' Returns To Little Tokyo 12/6 And 12/7

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The Pink Dress, the popular puppet-theater performance with music based on creator Leslie Kitashima-Gray's mother's experience in a Japanese American Internment Camp during World War II, is returning for two public performances in Little Tokyo the first weekend of December. Triumvirate Pi Theatre presents two performances, first at the Japanese American National Museum on December 6, then at Centenary United Methodist Church on December 7, to commemorate Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

This heartwarming family show, which features 3-foot tall bunraku-style puppets as well as a wide variety of other types of puppetry, premiered at the Museum in 2005 and has since traveled to Minneapolis, MN and toured for three seasons to schools across Los Angeles County.

The Reverend Mark M. Nakagawa, Senior Minister of Centenary UMC, is excited to host this touching and poignant performance in the church social hall. "The messages of peace and justice, communicated through the use of puppets, provide a powerful witness that is understood by everyone from the youngest child to the eldest senior."

Faced with wearing the drab green required for the camp junior high graduation, Tsuki decides to wear her sister's pink dress to prove that she is not an "ant," but a human being. This story about individuality in the face of racism is intended for a family audience and has played to kindergartners through high school students. With puppets designed by Beth Peterson and featuring original music, professional puppeteering and live sound effects, The Pink Dress captures the heart and brings to life for youngsters a very important event in American History. The show is produced by Triumvirate Pi Theatre (Tri-Pi Theatre), a nonprofit project of Community Partners.

"This piece is particularly important to me because of the legacy of the internment in the lives of many Japanese Americans, and its significance in the political atmosphere of the current time," says Gray. "My hope is that teaching about the Internment, especially to young students, will build a stronger awareness of its historical impact and will help keep similar injustices from happening again. This piece provides a way for youngsters to discuss important concepts such as war, discrimination, stereotyping, mistrust, individuality and being an American of foreign descent, through an engaging and accessible story that everyone of any ethnicity can enjoy."

Playwright/director Leslie Kitashima-Gray is a native of Los Angeles and Artistic Director of Triumvirate Pi Theatre. She has been an L.A. Cultural Affairs Department Artist-in-Residence and an L.A. Weekly Theatre Award winner. Gray wrote and directed the site-specific Reds, Whites, and Blues, which premiered at the Los Angeles Athletic Club, and was remounted at the Japanese American National Museum. She also was commissioned by the Pasadena Museum of History to create the Fenyes Mansion performance of December 12, 1904. In 2006 she co-created and directed Tri-Pi's award winning puppet show set in feudal Japan, The Fox Lantern. This January she will bring her puppet show En La Noche to New Delhi, India. In May 2009, Gray and South American artist Cecilia Mattos will present a multi-disciplinary installation at the National Museum of Visual Arts in Montevideo, Uruguay entitled "NaufragoThe Castaway."

Beth Peterson (puppet designer) is a puppet and mask designer and director whose works include On the Pulse of Morning that debuted at the 2008 Los Angeles Music Center Toy Theater Festival at Disney Hall and Ironman at the Manual Archives on Sunset Boulevard. She has created puppets and masks for the Minnesota Orchestra, In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, 24th Street Theater, Irish dance schools and for the Gwacheon Mandanguk Festival in South Korea.

ABOUT TRIUMVIRATE PI THEATRE
A nonprofit project of Community Partners, Tri-Pi Theatre was founded in 2000 and is dedicated to producing provocative live theater that breaks down perceived barriers of race, gender, and disability for all Los Angeles theater artists and audiences. Tri-Pi presents all its shows in wheelchair accessible facilities, provides captioning for the hearing impaired at every performance to ensure equal access, and is committed to color-blind and disability-blind casting. Please visit www.tri-pi.org for more info.

ABOUT CENTENARY UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
This year, Centenary United Methodist Church celebrates its 112th anniversary as a historic congregation among Japanese American United Methodist churches. Previously located in south-central Los Angeles for over 60 years, the congregation now makes its home in the heart of the Little Tokyo area of Downtown Los Angeles, providing Christian witness, outreach and leadership on the local, regional and national levels.

ABOUT THE JAPANESE AMERICAN NATIONAL MUSEUM
The Japanese American National Museum is dedicated to fostering greater understanding and appreciation for America's ethnic and cultural diversity by preserving and telling the stories of Americans of Japanese ancestry. Since its incorporation in 1985, the National Museum has grown into an internationally recognized institution, presenting award-winning exhibitions, groundbreaking traveling exhibits, educational public programs, innovative video documentaries and cutting-edge curriculum guides.

Performances of The Pink Dress take place on Saturday, December 6 at 2 pm at the Japanese American National Museum, 369 E. First Street, Los Angeles CA 90012 and Sunday, December 7 at 2 pm at the Centenary United Methodist Church, 300 S. Central Ave. Los Angeles CA 90013. Tickets are $12.00 General Admission and $6.00 for children 10 and under. For more information, contact the Japanese American National Museum: (213) 625-0414 or Centenary United Methodist Church: (213) 617-9097.


"THE PINK DRESS"
Details for Calendar Listings
WHAT:
The Pink Dress - Commemorating Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, Triumvirate Pi Theatre presents its critically acclaimed family puppet theater presentation based on real life incidents from the Japanese American internment. In camp, everyone is the same. Faced with wearing the required drab uniform, Tsuki decides to wear her sister's pink dress to her junior high school graduation to prove she is not "an ant," but an individual. Featuring 3-foot tall bunraku-style puppets and original music, The Pink Dress addresses complex issues of individuality, nonconformity and the concentration camps in a way that is appropriate for all ages. All performances are wheelchair accessible and captioned for the hearing impaired.

WHO:
Written and Directed by Leslie Kitashima-Gray
Puppet Design by Beth Peterson
Original Music by Michael A. Gray
Presented by Triumvirate Pi Theatre

WHEN & WHERE:
Saturday, December 6 at 2 pm
Japanese American National Museum
369 E. First Street
Los Angeles CA 90012
213.625.0414

Saturday, December 7 at 2 pm
Centenary United Methodist Church
300 S. Central Ave.
Los Angeles CA 90013
213.617.9097

TICKETS:
General admission: $12
Children 10 and under: $6

WEBSITE:
www.tri-pi.org

 


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