People’s Light (Abbey Adams, Executive Artistic Director; Zak Berkman, Producing Director) is presenting Jeanne Sakata’s Award winning solo play, Hold These Truths, based on the inspiring true story of Gordon Hirabayashi. The production was intended to run on the People’s Light stage this spring, but was cancelled due to COVID-19.
Originally scheduled to stream through May 3, People’s Light has extended it through May 10. Virtual tickets are available by clicking here to purchased the password-protected link for $35 (the lowest standard ticket price) to watch the video.
Jeanne Sakata’s stunning one-man play follows practicing Quaker, Gordon Hirabayashi, as he struggles to reconcile his deep admiration for the U.S. Constitution with the government’s 1942 orders to forcibly remove and intern over 120,000 people of Japanese descent from the West Coast. Gordon’s remarkable resistance ultimately leads to the famous Supreme Court case Hirabayashi v. United States, and continues to resonate today as we encounter questions of national security, citizenship, and what it means to be an American. Steven Eng plays Gordon Hirabayashi (and 37 other characters!) in this production, helmed by Desdemona Chiang and designed by an entirely Asian American team including Set Design by Se Hyun Oh, Costume Design by Katie Yamaguchi, Lighting Design by Dawn Chiang, Sound Design by Hidenori Nakajo, Dramaturgy by Gina Pisasale, and Stage Manager Matthew Luppino.
A note from People’s Light:
“While we’re disappointed that this beautiful production wasn’t able to play for a live audience, we’re thrilled to share it with you digitally. Gordon Hirabayashi’s incredible story deserves to be told, especially now.”
Due to legal restrictions, People’s Light is required to remove the video after May 3, 2020 but there is no limit to the number of times you can access the film once you have purchased a “ticket” and been emailed the link and password.
Steven Eng will portray Gordon Hirabayashi and 37 other characters in Hold These Truths. As an actor, he’s worked throughout NYC, the U.S. and internationally, including London West End, Classic Stage Company (2018 Lortel nom.), New York Philharmonic, Ensemble Studio Theatre, ShakespeareNYC, Prospect Theater Company, A.C.T., 5th Avenue Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse, Paper Mill Playhouse, Alliance Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse, TUTS, Dallas Theater Center, and many more, as well as in Germany, Austria, and Cambodia. He is a co-founder of the nonprofit National Asian Artists Project and a director. He’s also taught numerous workshops and is on the faculty of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Columbia University, and HB Studio, and has served as a grants panelist for the NEA. MFA from GWU/ACA and BFA from SMU.
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.com, www.holdthesetruths.info
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 films Wolf, 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 also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.
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