Joel de la Fuente as Gordon Hirabayashi. Photo by Lia Chang

Heritage Theatre Festival Presents Jeanne Sakata’s HOLD THESE TRUTHS Starring Joel de la Fuente, July 30 – August 9

Joel de la Fuente. Photo by Lia Chang

Heritage Theatre Festival is presenting Jeanne Sakata’s Hold These Truths, a powerful one-person play about one brave Japanese-American’s decades-long battle against curfews and internment to a relocation camp during World War II. The show will be performed by award winning actor Joel de la Fuente of the hit Amazon TV series “The Man in the High Castle”.

Hold These Truths, directed by Lisa Rothe will run from July 30 through August 9 in the Helms Theatre. Opening night will be July 31.

Joel de la Fuente as Gordon Hirabayashi. Photo by Lia Chang
Joel de la Fuente as Gordon Hirabayashi. Photo by Lia Chang

Hold These Truths is a powerful one-person play written by Jeanne Sakata that tells the inspiring true story of Gordon Hirabayashi, chronicling his brave fight against internment to a relocation camp during WWII and spanning his journey from college to the Supreme Court and ultimately, a Congressional Medal of Honor. While this story of a man defending his Constitutional rights against the very country who afforded them takes on a new relevance in today’s America, Hold These Truths is ultimately a tale of hope and an exploration not just of who we are as a country but who we aspire to be. The play will also serve, as did The Mountaintop (2018) and The Niceties (2019) as a springboard for HTF’s popular Community Conversations series, which invites audience members in meaningful post-show discussions around the themes of the play with cast members as well as community leaders and academic and cultural experts.

Part of the power, and the importance of the piece, de la Fuente said, is the opportunity to share a remarkable and patriotic American story that has somehow remained below the radar for many. “The first time I had ever heard of Gordon Hirabayashi was when I read the play,” he said. “And this is coming from someone who was deeply involved in Asian American studies in college.” Hirabayashi, he shared, was in many ways a reluctant activist, a simple Quaker American citizen who held tenaciously to his conscience and his beliefs, and to the ideals set forth in the Constitution of the United States. “The curfew and the internment seemed to him very obvious examples of violations of the Constitution, and so in good conscience he could not adhere to them.”

The experience of working with the piece, which was first presented as a reading at New York’s Lark Play Development Center in 2009, through the seismic changes along the American and global political landscapes since that time has been remarkable, Rothe said. “In the early days of this show, there was this small sense of, ‘OK, we don’t want history to repeat itself, but this is a nice little story we can place on a shelf because we have moved past this.'” Since that time, she said, the show has been presented against the backdrop of a Muslim ban, the border wall and family separations, and the events right here in Charlottesville.

“I think it is important to tell a story like this in Charlottesville,” de la Fuente said, “a place where our eyes have been turned for the past several years with great interest, and concern, and care. I think that so much of the country has come to regard ‘Charlottesville’ as a catch-phrase that brings to mind all of these different reactions. Part of my excitement about bringing this show there is to spend time there and learn more about what Charlottesville is all about, to participate in life there, to meet and talk to the people, because that is the lesson in all of this. There is this bifurcation in our post 2016-world of us versus them, or GOP versus Democrat. It is an uphill battle, but we have to find the ways in which we have commonality, the ways in which we can get past our heads and into our feelings to find what brings us together. I think, in many ways, that is the overriding message of this show.”

The show, Rothe said, has inspired important conversations everywhere it has been. “Being engaged in conversations with each other is so important. We are inured to the internet and our screens and getting out and speaking to people one-on-one and engaging in communities is extraordinarily important and allows us to see each other’s differences as well as our similarities.”

Hold These Truths is supported by UVA Arts: supported by the Office of the Provost & the Vice Provost for the Arts as well as the University of Virginia College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Directors of Diversity and Inclusion.

Heritage Theatre Festival’s 2019 season subscribers will receive information on how to renew their subscriptions for the 46th Anniversary season in March. New subscription sales will also begin in March and single tickets will go on sale on June 3, 2020.

For more information on the upcoming 2020 Heritage Theatre Festival season and how you can support Heritage’s efforts, visit www.heritagetheatrefestival.org.

In the dressing room with Joel de la Fuente, who stars as Gordon Hirabayashi in Jeanne Sakata’s Hold These Truths at The Theatre at the 14th Street Y in New York on November 24, 2012. Joel is holding a photo of Esther Schmoe and Gordon Hirabayashi on their wedding day. Photo by Lia Chang

Joel de la Fuente (Gordon Hirabayashi) received a Theatre Bay Area Award for Outstanding Principal Performance for the run of Hold These Truths at Theatreworks SV and garnered a Drama Desk Nomination in New York City for Outstanding Solo Performance when it debuted in 2012. On television, Joel plays Chief Inspector Kido on “The Man in the High Castle,” one of Amazon Studios’ most watched original series. He also portrays Dr. Johann Pryce on Netflix’s second original series, “Hemlock Grove,” and can be seen in perpetual reruns on “Law & Order: SVU,” where he played TARU Tech Ruben Morales for 10 seasons. Currently, he appears as President Datu Andrada on “Madam Secretary” for CBS. Joel has performed in theaters all over the world, as both an avid classical theater actor and as a developer of new work. He is an alumnus of Brown University and the Graduate Acting Program at NYU.

Jeanne Sakata. Photo by Lia Chang
Jeanne Sakata. Photo by Lia Chang

Jeanne Sakata’s  HOLD THESE TRUTHS (Drama Desk Nomination, Outstanding Solo Performance; San Diego Critics’ Circle Award, Outstanding Solo Performance; Theatre Bay Area Awards, Outstanding Production, Direction, and Lead Performance); upcoming in the 2019-20 season at People’s Light and Theatre and Heritage Theatre Festival, has won rave reviews in over twenty productions across North America, most recently at San Diego Repertory, Cultch Historic Theatre in Vancouver, Barrington Stage Company, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, Arena Stage, Hang A Tale Productions, Lyric Stage Company, Pasadena Playhouse, Portland Center Stage, the Guthrie Theater, Perseverance Theatre, ACT Seattle, PlayMakers Repertory Company, Honolulu Theatre for Youth (co-produced with Daniel Dae Kim), and Epic Theatre Ensemble. Originally premiering with Los Angeles’ East West Players, the play was first commissioned by Chay Yew, former director of CTG’s Asian Theatre Workshop.

Called a “local treasure” by the Los Angeles Times, Jeanne has enjoyed guest star/recurring roles onscreen in Jennifer Phang’s internationally acclaimed indie film, Advantageous, and on the TV series High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, NCIS Los Angeles, Big Hero 6, Dr. Ken, Bravo’s True Fiction, Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns, Desperate Housewives, Presidio Med, ER, Threat Matrix, Line of Fire, American Family, John Ridley’s I Got You, Hiroshima, and Sex and Marriage, a Justin Lin YOMYOMF YouTube webseries.  Onstage, Jeanne has performed with the Vineyard Theatre, Public Theater, Lincoln Center Theater, Kennedy Center, Mark Taper Forum, Geffen Playhouse, South Coast Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, American Conservatory Theater, Northlight Theatre, Intiman Theatre, Berkeley Rep, A Contemporary Theatre, Portland Center Stage, People’s Light, Sundance Theatre Institute, Syracuse Stage and the Arizona Theatre Company.

Special honors: Theatre LA Ovation Award for Outstanding Lead Actress, Chay Yew’s Red, East West Players; 2019 Trailblazer Award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement, East West Players; 2016 Lee Melville Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Los Angeles Theatre Community, Playwrights’ Arena; Outstanding Artist Award, Los Angeles’ Pacific American Friends of Theatre. www.jeannesakata.comwww.holdthesetruths.info

Final weekend to see “Man in The High Castle” Star Joel de la Fuente in Benefit Performances of Jeanne Sakata’s HOLD THESE TRUTHS at Cultch Historic Theatre in Vancouver through November 2

Lia Chang. Photo by Garth Kravits

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 has appeared in the filmsWolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com. She is profiled in Jade Magazine and Playbill.com.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 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 liachangpr@gmail.com

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