Mr. de la Fuente, who can currently be seen on Netflix’s “Hemlock Grove” and recently appeared in an episode of “Hawaii Five-O,” will reprise his portrayal as Gordon Hirabayashi and 36 other characters in Hold These Truths as one of the headliner events at the 10th Annual soloNOVA Arts Festival, the award-winning and longest-running solo performance festival in New York City.
Hold These Truths will have performances at the Culture Project, Tuesday, June 4 at 7pm, Monday, June 10 at 7pm and Tuesday, June 11 at 7pm at the Culture Project (45 Bleecker Street, NYC).
The design team for Hold These Truths includes set design by Mikiko Suzuki McAdams, sound designer and compositions by Daniel Kluger, lighting design by Cat Tate Starmer and costume design by Meg Weeden.
Inspired by a true story, Hold These Truths takes place in Seattle during World War II, where University of Washington student Gordon Hirabayashi is agonizing over U.S. government orders to forcibly remove and mass incarcerate all people of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast. As he fights to reconcile his country’s betrayal with his passionate belief in the U.S. Constitution, Hirabayashi journeys toward a greater understanding of America’s triumphs – and a confrontation with its failures.
Gordon Kiyoshi Hirabayashi (1918-2012) was an American sociologist best known for his resistance to the Japanese-American internment during World War II. He was one of the only three to openly defy it. After being convicted for curfew violation he was sentenced to 90 days in prison. The verdict was appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in the case Hirabayashi v. United States (1943). They unanimously ruled against him. He later spent a year in federal prison for refusing induction into the armed forces after they had sent out a racially discriminatory survey to Japanese-Americans demanding renunciation of allegiance to the emperor of Japan. In 1987, the U.S. Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit overturned his conviction from 1943. In 2012, President Barack Obama posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Hirabayashi for his principled stand against Japanese-American internment.
“One of the stunning things about Joel de la Fuente’s performance in Jeanne Sakata’s gripping one-man show is how completely he embodies the real-life character of Gordon Hirabayashi….de la Fuente, under the direction of Lisa Rothe, also plays many other characters—but his portrayal of Hirabayashi, whom President Obama just this year posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, feels eerily true to life.”
The New Yorker, October 2012
“Jeanne Sakata’s eloquent one-man drama about civil rights giant Gordon Hirabayashi provides a concise examination of a fascinating chapter in American history….Joel de la Fuente plays Hirabayashi wtih buoyant, magnetic enthusiasm, under the direction of Lisa Rothe.”
The Washington Post/API, October 2012
“The astounding performance that Joel de la Fuente delivers as Gordon Hirabayashi is reason enough to recommend Hold These Truths…with Jeanne Sakata at the helm, we are treated to a dazzling, literary script that’s full of humor.”
New York Times Readers’ Review, October 2012
“Moving, instructive, thrilling….Travel downtown to be inspired by script, actor, and history in equal measure….Culled to its human and emotional essence, we hold Hirabayashi’s story as we must all ‘hold these truths.’”
Urban Excavations, October 2012
“Resonates with vitality and power….This is what living, breathing theater is about. Unforgettable.”
Technorati, October 2012
Joel de la Fuente’s (Gordon Hirabayashi) NY theatre credits include: Ivanov in Ivanov; The Downtown Plays; Claudio in Beatrice and Benedict, with the NY Philharmonic; The Square; America Dreaming and Valentine in The Two Gentlemen of Verona. In 2005, Joel served as the Artistic Associate of the National Asian American Theater Company and also appeared in their world premiere of Cowboy v. Samurai, among others. Other theatrical credits include Vershinin in The Three Sisters; Ariel in The Tempest; Florizel in The Winter’s Tale; Chay Yew’s Red and Liu Mengmei in The Peony Pavilion. On television, Joel has spent ten seasons in “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” He was a series regular on the Fox drama, “Space: Above & Beyond;” and is recurring in the upcoming series “Hemlock Grove,” exclusively available on Netflix. On screen, he stars in Brief Reunion (Audience Choice Award Winner) and in the upcoming film, Forgetting The Girl. Additional film credits include: Personal Velocity; The Adjustment Bureau; The Happening; Heights; Return to Paradise and From Other Worlds. Joel’s essay on his experiences as an Asian American actor is published in Pyong Gap Min’s “Struggle for Ethnic Identity.”
Lisa Rothe (Director). Recent Credits: Penelope (Playmakers Repertory Theatre); Ada (Center for Contemporary Opera). Directed and/or developed in NY: The Foundry, New Georges, Epic Theatre Ensemble, Lark Play Development Center, Ensemble Studio Theatre (EST), 52nd Street Project, Naked Angels, New York Theatre Workshop, The Public Theater, BAM, Summer Play Festival (SPF), NYMF, Midtown InterNational Theatre Festival (Best Director), The Women’s Project, National Actors Theater, Keen Company (Keen Teens), Orchard Project, Voice & Vision, HERE, Dixon Place. Regionally: Synchronicity Theatre, Chautauqua Theatre, Vermont Stage Company, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Milwaukee Shakespeare Theatre, The New Harmony Project, Riverside Theatre, Seaside Shakespeare (Nantucket), among others. Director of Offsite Programs and Partnerships at the Lark Play Development Center.
Jeanne Sakata’s HOLD THESE TRUTHS has its world premiere in 2007 at East West Players under the title of DAWN’S LIGHT: THE JOURNEY OF GORDON HIRABAYASHI, co-presented by the Japanese American National Museum, UCLA Department of Asian American Studies, and the UCLA Asian American Studies Center, and was subsequently chosen by the Epic Theatre Ensemble and the Lark Play Development Center for their first joint presentation, as well as by the New York Theatre Workshop to be showcased at their 2009 Dartmouth Residency. In its New York premiere with the Epic in October 2012, HOLD THESE TRUTHS opened to unanimous rave reviews from The New Yorker, The Washington Post/API, and many other critics. It has also been performed at Chicago’s Pritzker Pavilion with Silk Road Rising/Millennium Park as part of the Park’s 2011 IN THE WORKS New Plays Series; the Epic’s 2010 Passion Play Festival with the John Jay College of Criminal Justice; the University of California at Riverside; the 16th Annual Conference of the Japan Studies Association in Honolulu; at Japanese American Citizens League Day of Remembrance events in Sacramento and Salinas, California; and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where it served as the inspiration and theatrical centerpiece of the civil rights symposium “Civil Liberties, National Security and the Legacies of the Japanese Removal and Incarceration.” With the East West Players Theatre For Youth program in 2008 and 2010, the play has twice toured high schools and junior high schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District. HOLD THESE TRUTHS is now part of the Library of Congress Playwrights Archive in the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection in Washington DC, where Sakata’s working script was recently on view in the Thomas Jefferson Building in conjunction with the Library of Congress celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. (www.facebook.com/holdthesetruths, www.holdthesetruths.info)
Jeanne is also a renowned actress whose many accolades include an LA Ovation Award for Best Lead Actress for Chay Yew’s RED at East West Players in Los Angeles. In the 2011-2012 season she performed in A CAGE OF FIREFLIES at the 2012 Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, in the title role of George Bernard Shaw’s MRS. WARREN’S PROFESSION at the Antaeus Company’s Classics Fest, SEVEN at USC, THE LANGUAGE ARCHIVE at East West Players, and RED FLAMBOYANT at Ojai Playwrights Festival. Regionally, she has performed with The Public Theater, Lincoln Center Theater, Kennedy Center, Mark Taper Forum, La Jolla Playhouse, South Coast Rep, American Conservatory Theater, Northlight Theatre, Intiman Theatre, Berkeley Rep, A Contemporary Theatre, Portland Center Stage, Syracuse Stage and the Arizona Theatre Company. Screen credits include playing Mom Wanda to Olivia Munn in the recent feature film comedy THE BABYMAKERS, “NCIS LOS ANGELES,” “TYLER PERRY’S MEET THE BROWNS,” “DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES,” “ER,” “THREAT MATRIX,” “LINE OF FIRE,” “PRESIDIO MED,” “AMERICAN FAMILY,” “NUMB3RS,” John Ridley’s “I GOT YOU,” the MOW’s “THE READING ROOM,” “HIROSHIMA,” “CONSENSUAL RELATIONS,” and the feature films XXX2: STATE OF THE UNION and AMERICAN FUSION.
In December 2011, Jeanne was honored with an Outstanding Artist Award for her career achievements by Los Angeles’ Asian Pacific American Friends of the Theatre. (www.jeannesakata.com)
Below are interviews with Hold These Truths‘ playwright Jeanne Sakata, star Joel de la Fuente and director Lisa Rothe.
Hold These Truths‘ playwright Jeanne Sakata talks about her inspiration to write Gordon Hirabayashi’s life story, how she did her research, why she chose the solo show format and what she hopes audiences will take away from de la Fuente’s performance.
Hold These Truths‘ star Joel de la Fuente talks about the challenges of playing 30+ characters and the impact playing Gordon Hirabayashi has had for him.
Director Lisa Rothe discusses how she first became involved with Hold These Truths, her history with Joel de la Fuente, how attending a Quaker meeting influenced her design and concept of the set, her prior knowledge of Gordon Hirabayashi, and her exposure to the internment camps.
For more information and tickets, visit www.terranovacollective.org. Tickets are $30 and may also be purchased in-person at the box office ½ hour in advance of the performances.
Other Hold These Truths Articles:
Hold These Truths Opening Night at Honolulu Theatre for Youth’s Tenney Theatre with Daniel Dae Kim, Joel de la Fuente and Jeanne Sakata
Brief Reunion Starring Joel de la Fuente, Alexie Gilmore and Scott Shepherd, Opens in NY & L.A. on January 18, 2013
Hold These Truths Video Feature: Playwright Jeanne Sakata, Star Joel de la Fuente and Director Lisa Rothe
Video: Interview with Lisa Rothe, Director of Critically Acclaimed Hold These Truths by Jeanne Sakata, starring Joel de la Fuente
Video: Q & A with Jeanne Sakata, Award Winning Actress Makes Playwrighting Debut Telling Story of Gordon Hirabayashi with Hold These Truths
Photos and Video: Daniel Dae Kim, Ann Harada, Greg Watanabe and More at Jeanne Sakata’s Hold These Truths starring Joel de la Fuente
Photos: Opening Night with Hold These Truths’ Playwright Jeanne Sakata and Star Joel de la Fuente, a Revelation as Gordon Hirabayashi; Performances Extended through November 25, 2012
Epic Theatre Ensemble Presents New York Premiere of Jeanne Sakata’s Hold These Truths Starring Joel de la Fuente at the Theatre at the 14th Street Y, October 12-November 18, 2012
Remembering Civil Rights Leader Gordon Hirabayashi,1918- 2012
President Obama Names Asian American Civil Rights Hero Gordon Hirabayashi Recipient of Presidential Medal of Freedom
Reading of Jeanne Sakata’s Dawn’s Light: The Journey of Gordon Hirabayashi Starring Joel de la Fuente in New York
Thom Sesma Stars in Jeanne Sakata’s Dawn’s Light: The Journey of Gordon Hirabayashi
Other articles by Lia Chang:
Lorey Hayes’ Power Play Set for National Black Theatre Festival 7/29-8/3
Christine Toy Johnson, Thom Sesma, Ali Ewoldt, Jose Llana, Ann Harada, Telly Leung and More Set for The Asian American Composers and Lyricists Project at The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre on May 19, 2013
Photos & Video: Frank London’s Klezmer Brass All-Stars, Manu Narayan, Deep Singh and More
Photos: Working Theater’s World Premiere of Ed Cardona, Jr.’s La Ruta through May 12, 2013
Christine Toy Johnson and Raul Aranas Lead the Cast of the National Asian Artists Project’s (NAAP) Benefit Presentation of Hello Dolly!, at The Pershing Square Signature Center on April 29 and May 6
Photos: All-Access Pass to August Wilson’s Two Trains Running with John Earl Jelks, Harvy Blanks, Chuck Cooper, Anthony Chisholm, Owiso Odera, Roslyn Ruff and James A. Williams
Keith David, January LaVoy, John Douglas Thompson, Glynn Turman, Lillias White and More Set for Joe Turner’s Come and Gone at the CTG/Mark Taper Forum, April 24 – June 9, 2013
Multimedia: Manu Narayan Dazzles as Richard Roma in La Jolla Playhouse’s Revival of David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross
Albee, Hwang, Enos, Taylor, Wilson, Clarke and Jacobs-Jenkins Set for Signature Theatre’s 2013-14 Season
Photos: David Henry Hwang’s The Dance and The Railroad Opening Night at Signature Theatre
Photos: Partying with the Cast of David Henry Hwang’s Golden Child
Photos: All-Access Pass to Disney’s Aladdin at The Muny with Thom Sesma, Francis Jue, Robin De Jesus, John Tartaglia, Jason Graae, Curtis Holbrook, Eddie Korbich, Samantha Massell and Ken Page
Performing Arts Images from the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection on Display at the Library of Congress to Celebrate APA Heritage Month
Photos: Yellow Fever Playwright Rick Shiomi Explores New Territory with An All-Female Cast
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.
Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist.
All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2013 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at firstname.lastname@example.org