Jul. 28: Contemporary Asian Theater Scene (CATS) In Conversation with HOLD THESE TRUTHS’ Director Jeffrey Lo and Star Jomar Tagatac

Jomar Tagatac, Leianne Lamb and Jeffrey Lo. Photo by Lia Chang

Contemporary Asian Theater Scene CATS is continuing their conversation with theater artists making their mark, on Wednesday, July 27 at 5:00 pm PST/ 8:00 pm EST featuring Director and Playwright Jeffrey Lo and award-winning actor, Jomar Tagatac. The chat, moderated by Leianne Lamb, will stream on Facebook Live on the CATS page.

Jeffrey and Jomar’s latest collaboration is a co-production of Jeanne Sakata’s Hold These Truths which ended its critically acclaimed run at San Francisco Playhouse on July 3, and will begin previews at Capital Stage in Sacramento on August 25. CATS last program featured a discussion with Jeanne.

Photos: Closing Night of San Francisco Playhouse’s Production of Jeanne Sakata’s HOLD THESE TRUTHS 

Capital Stage Presents A Co-Production with SF Playhouse of Jeanne Sakata’s HOLD THESE TRUTHS Starring Jomar Tagatac, Aug. 25 – Sept. 26

Leianne Lamb, Jomar Tagatac, Jeffrey Lo and Jeanne Sakata. Photo by Lia Chang

During World War II, Gordon Hirabayashi, a student at University of Washington in Seattle, 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.

Jomar Tagatac as Gordon Hirabayashi. Photo by Jessica Palopoli

In Hold These Truths, Jomar plays Gordon Hirabayashi and 30+ characters. Now that theater is returning to the actual stage, Leianne will discuss Jeffrey and Jomar’s take on being part of the first play to be produced in San Francisco post-Covid, and their perspectives on how theater drives them and the audience to take action. 

Jeffrey Lo. Photo by Lia Chang

Jeffrey Lo (He/Him/His) is a Filipino-American playwright and director based in the Bay Area. He is the recipient of the Leigh Weimers Emerging Artist Award, the Emerging Artist Laureate by Arts Council Silicon Valley and Theatre Bay Area Director’s TITAN Award. Selected directing credits include THE LANGUAGE ARCHIVE and THE SANTALAND DIARIES at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, VIETGONE at Capital Stage, A DOLL’S HOUSE, Part 2 and EURYDICE at Palo Alto Players (TBA Awards finalist for Best Direction), PETER AND THE STARCATCHER and NOISES OFF at Hillbarn Theatre, THE GRAPES OF WRATH, THE CRUCIBLE and YELLOW FACE at Los Altos Stage Company and UNCLE VANYA at the Pear Theatre (BATCC award for Best Production). As a playwright, his plays have been produced and workshopped at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, The BindleStiff Studio, City Lights Theatre Company and Custom Made Theatre Company. His play WRITING FRAGMENTS HOME was a finalist for the Bay Area Playwright’s Conference and a semi-finalist for the O’Neill Playwright’s Conference. Jeffrey has also worked with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Asian American International Film Festival, San Jose Repertory and is a company member of Ferocious Lotus Theatre Company and SF Playground. In addition to his work in theatre he works as an educator and advocate for issues of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and has served as a grant panelist for the Zellerbach Family Foundation, Silicon Valley Creates and Theatre Bay Area. He is the Director Community Partnerships and Casting Director at the Tony Award Winning TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, a graduate of the Multicultural Arts Leadership Institute and a proud alumnus of the UC Irvine Drama Department. For more visit www.JeffreyWritesAPlay.com.

Jomar Tagatac. Photo by Lia Chang
Jomar Tagatac. Photo by Lia Chang

Jomar Tagatac* Jomar was last seen at Capital Stage in VIETGONE. Recently he appeared at San Francisco Playhouse as Mark in ART, and DJ Loki in TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY (Theater Mu). At A.C.T. he was seen as Mr. Botard in RHINOCEROS and Bob Cratchit in A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Other credits include Playwright and others in VIETGONE, Fortinbras in HAMLET, George in LANGUAGE ARCHIVE (Theatreworks), Actor 1 in KING OF THE YEES (San Francisco Playhouse); THE WAR OF THE ROSES, MACBETH, EVERYBODY, AS YOU LIKE IT (CalShakes), THE HAPPY ONES, and DOGEATERS (Magic Theatre). Jomar is a recipient of a Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for Principle Actor in a Play, and TBA Award for Outstanding Performance in a Featured Role. He earned an MFA from A.C.T. (he/him/his) PERFORMANCE TIMES: Wednesdays at 7pm Thursdays at 7pm Fridays at 8pm Saturdays at 2pm & 8pm Sundays at 2pm PERFORMANCE LENGTH: 110 minutes, no intermission BOX OFFICE: Hours: Mon. – Fri. 10:00 am – 5:00 pm Phone: 916-995-5464 Email: boxoffice@capstage.org Website: capstage.org TICKETS: $25 – $49

What the critics are saying: 
“A stellar performance by Jomar Tagatac… a marvelously nuanced portrait displaying both the vulnerability of a man challenged by a great injustice and the strength of perseverance and determination to challenge a system and right a great wrong…Tagatac and Director Jeffery Lo work their magic supported by excellent lighting by Heather Kenyon, sound by Teddy Hulsker and scenic design by Christopher Fitzer.”
“The great Bay Area-based Jomar Tagatac…plays the man with sweet depth and comic turns as he encounters, picaresque-like, a broad swath of humanity across the vast spectrum of WWII-era America. It’s a moving masterclass of live, in-person performance with teeth made sharp by its relevance today. But as important as its relevance is its elegance. Director Jeffrey Lo uses a spare stage with simple projected graphics to support Tagatac as he takes us on a lifetime journey from boy to man to American icon. A single suitcase serves both literal and figurative purposes throughout the play, most pointedly as to examine the possessions one must part with versus those one must keep to in order to survive the emotional and economic violence of being dispossessed.”
“Sensitively directed by Jeffrey Lo and performed by the sublimely talented Jomar Tagatac, it couldn’t be a better production. “
“While SF Playhouse’s safety precautions are impressive, they pale in comparison to the production on stage. A stellar performance by Jomar Tagatac, Teddy Hulsker’s powerful video and Christopher Fitzer’s versatile set combine for a powerful look at past systemic racism in American culture. Director Jeffrey Lo deftly directs Tagatac.”
Capital Stage Staff Producing Artistic Director: Michael Stevenson Production & Company Manager: Katie Cannon Stage Manager: Melissa Jernigan* Scenic & Costume Designer: Christopher Fitzer Lighting Designer: Michael Palumbo Sound & Projections Designer: Teddy Hulsker Projections Engineer: Ed Lee Sound Engineer: Mari Carson Props Coordinator: Rebekah Fegan Production Assistant: Cecilia Castillo Juarez SF Playhouse Staff Executive Producers: Betty & Cliff Nakamoto Artistic Director: Bill English Producing Director: Susi Damilano Scenic & Costume Designer: Christopher Fitzer Lighting Designer: Heather Kenyon Sound & Projections Designer: Teddy Hulsker Video Editor: Wolfgang Lancelot Wachalovsky Stage Manager: Sarah Marie Selig* Production Assistant: Ada May Dialect Coach: Janel Miley Japanese Dialect & Pronunciation Coach: Yuto Shinagawa Cultural Consultant: Cliff Nakamoto *Member Actors’ Equity Association HOLD THESE TRUTHS was first produced in 2007 by East West Players in Los Angeles, California, under the title of DAWN’S LIGHT: THE JOURNEY OF GORDON HIRABAYASHI. It was commissioned in 2004 by Chay Yew, former director of the Center Theatre Group’s Asian Theatre Workshop, and further developed with Lark Play Development Center, the New York Theatre Workshop, and the Epic Theatre Ensemble. HOLD THESE TRUTHS received its New York premiere at the Epic Theatre Ensemble in October 2021.
Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer, an Award winning filmmaker 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. Her short film, When the World Was Young recently garnered a 2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative. 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. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2021 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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