Photo Flash: HOLD THESE TRUTHS Celebrates Opening Night at Arena Stage
Jeanne Sakata's one-man drama Hold These Truths tells the true story of Gordon Hirabayashi, the American son of Japanese immigrants who defied an unjust court order when America placed its own citizens in internment camps during World War II. Midway through Arena Stage's 2017/18 season, Hold These Truths brings an untold story to the stage that represents the diversity of our country and examines what it means to be an American. Under the direction of Jessica Kubzansky, Hold These Truths runs February 23-April 8, 2018 in the Kogod Cradle.
As previously announced, Ryun Yu, who in 2007 "brilliantly portrayed" (Huffington Post) and originated the role of Gordon Hirabayashi in Hold These Truths, and has since traveled across the country with the show, will reprise his performance. In addition to playing Hirabayashi, Yu portrays an additional 36 supplemental characters throughout the production. Kubzansky directed the world premiere in 2007, and many subsequent productions starring Yu.
"One of the biggest mistakes we make as Americans is to forget to learn from the past," shares Molly Smith. "The atrocities committed against our own people in Japanese Internment Camps during World War II are experienced first-hand in Jeanne Sakata's stirring Hold These Truths. It's an important time to tell this story-Americans are not immune to fear and allowing fear to take over reason. This is a powerful performance with Ryun Yu as Gordon Hirabayashi under the deft direction of Jessica Kubzansky, and the Kogod Cradle is the perfect intimate setting to chronicle this event in our history."
"It's fascinating how plays change with time and speak to us in wholly different ways as the world changes around us," says Kubzansky. "When we did the world premiere in 2007, Hold These Truths was a piece of sadly neglected history about a little-known and largely unsung Japanese-American hero. Now, it feels like a screaming cautionary tale we all need to witness, as our country could be on the precipice of repeating a variation on this shameful episode in our nation's past. Today, the text that keeps resonating loudly in my head is something Gordon says late in the play, 'I'll say it again, ancestry is not a crime.'"
Jeanne Sakata (Playwright) is honored to bring Hold These Truths to Arena Stage. After premiering at East West Players in 2007, the play had its Off-Broadway debut with Epic Theatre Ensemble in 2012 (Drama Desk nomination, Outstanding Solo Performance) and has since earned rave reviews at Pasadena Playhouse, Lyric Stage Company, Hang A Tale at the Sheen Center, The Guthrie, Portland Center Stage, ACT, Perseverance Theatre, PlayMakers Repertory and Honolulu Theatre for Youth. As an actor, Jeanne has performed with The Public, the Kennedy Center, Mark Taper Forum, La Jolla Playhouse, South Coast Repertory, American Conservatory Theater, Berkeley Repertory, People's Light, Northlight Theatre and the Intiman Theatre, among others. Recent film/TV credits include Advantageous, Dr. Ken, Big Hero 6 and True Fiction. She received a Los Angeles Ovation Award for Outstanding Lead Actress and a lee Melville Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Los Angeles Theatre Community. www.jeannesakata.com
Tickets for Hold These Truths are $40-90, subject to change and based on availability, plus applicable fees. For information on savings programs such as pay-your-age tickets, student discounts, Southwest Nights and hero's discounts, visit arenastage.org/shows-tickets/single-tickets/savings-programs.
Tickets may be purchased online at arenastage.org by phone at 202-488-3300 or at the Sales Office at 1101 Sixth St., SW, D.C.
Director Jessica Kubzansky and Ryun Yu (Gordon Hirabayashi) at the opening night for Hold These Truths, March 2, 2018, at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. Photo by Cameron Whitman.
Sound Designer John Zalewski, Director Jessica Kubzansky, Ryun Yu (Gordon Hirabayashi), Playwright Jeanne Sakata, Set/Lighting Designer Ben Zamora and Arena Stage Executive Director Edgar Dobie at the opening night for Hold These Truths, March 2, 2018, at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. Photo by Cameron Whitman
Sound Designer John Zalewski, Director Jessica Kubzansky, Ryun Yu (Gordon Hirabayashi), Playwright Jeanne Sakata, Gordon Hirabayashiâ€™s granddaughter Kai Ethier and her son Louis, Set and Lighting Designer Ben Zamora and Arena Stage Executive Director Edgar Dobie at the opening night for Hold These Truths, March 2, 2018, at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. Photo by Cameron Whitman