Joel de la Fuente (Amazon’s “The Man in the High Castle,” “Hemlock Grove”) made a triumphant return to the New York stage in his Drama Desk nominated role as Gordon Hirabayashi and 30 other characters in Jeanne Sakata’s Hold These Truths at The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture for a limited December run.
Hold These Truths landed on Theaterscene.net’s 2017 10 Best List and Jonathan Mandell’s New York Theater blog citing his Favorite New York Stage Performances in 2017.
“First seen in New York City in 2012, playwright Jeanne Sakata’s Hold These Truths powerfully explored the fate of a Japanese-American’s resistance to the Japanese internment during W.W.II. Joel de la Fuente magnificently portrayed Gordon Hirabayashi from youth to old age and a gallery of other characters.”
Read the full review below.
“In “Hold These Truths,” Joel de la Fuente portrays Gordon Hirabayashi, a 2012 posthumous winner of the 2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom who was imprisoned during World War II for openly defying the internment of Japanese-Americans. De la Fuente’s performance is subtle and shows great skill, portraying the low-key protagonist and countless characters with whom he came into contact, from Hirabayashi’s Japanese immigrant parents to his Quaker girlfriend to a Southern sheriff to a streetwise New York City ticket-taker to the individual Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Laura Collins-Hughes of The New York Times writes, “Hold These Truths,” elegantly directed by Lisa Rothe in a top-notch production for the company Hang a Tale, is a gripping story about a shameful chapter of our history, when the United States government looked at its own people and saw the enemy. It is also the gentlest of these three shows. That’s partly because its action (aided by all-around excellent design: set by Mikiko Suzuki MacAdams, lighting by Cat Tate Starmer, music and sound by Daniel Kluger) takes place at the greatest historical remove.
It’s also because of Joel de la Fuente’s endearing solo performance, which vividly — and, more often than you’d think, comically — renders Gordon and the constellation of people around him.”
During WWII in Seattle, University of Washington student Gordon Hirabayashi fights the US government’s orders to forcibly remove and mass incarcerate all people of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast. As he struggles to reconcile his country’s betrayal with his passionate belief in the US Constitution, Gordon begins a 50-year journey toward a greater understanding of America’s triumphs—and a confrontation with its failures.
Hold These Truths is inspired by this true story from a little-known chapter of American history, when civil liberties were under attack, constitutional rights violated, and issues of race hotly debated by a divided country. Joel de la Fuente (Inspector Kido on Amazon’s “The Man in the High Castle”) stars as civil rights pioneer and 2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, Gordon Hirabayashi.
Hold These Truths originally received its New York Premiere with Epic Theatre Ensemble in 2012 and Joel de la Fuente was nominated for the 2013 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance.
HANG A TALE is a New York City based, non-profit theater company. Jesse Liebman, Kim Martin-Cotten and Michael Arden Larson have come together to create intimate, actor-driven productions for the Off-Broadway stage.
Our mission is to reexamine, reimagine and reinvigorate stories for the theater. We seek tales of universality, old and new, that transcend the limitations of time. We search for stories that inspire us and start conversations about our lives and the world around us. We do not to limit ourselves to any particular playwright or style. We embrace our diverse, dynamic surroundings and remain open to co-creation and inclusiveness. Go to www.hangatale.org for more information.
Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia is also an internationally published and exhibited photographer, a multi-platform journalist, and a publicist. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman and Hide and Seek. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.
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