May 14: HOLD THESE TRUTHS’ Star Joel de la Fuente Set for Marin Montessori School’s Gather for Good Speakers Series on Angel Island

Joel de la Fuente. Photo by Harold Julian

In a moment when our nation is debating our history and questioning our ability to connect with one another, the power of story is more than a theme; it’s an urgent call to return to what binds us together–our stories.

On Saturday, May 14, Marin Montessori School, in partnership with the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation, is presenting the third annual Gather for Good Speaker Series event on Angel Island, known as the “Ellis Island” of the West Coast. It’s a setting that embodies the stories that exist all around us–stories like those of the Coastal Miwok, Spanish explorers, Civil War troops, and more than one million immigrants seeking refuge and opportunity between 1910 and 1940.

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

The evening’s festivities will include a reception and dinner, followed by The Power of Story, featuring master storyteller and renowned actor Joel de la Fuente, sharing excerpts of Jeanne Sakata’s highly acclaimed one-person play, Hold These Truths.

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

Joel de la Fuente is a New York-based actor who can be seen on two Emmy Award-winning original series: as Chief Inspector Takeshi Kido in Amazon Studio’s The Man in the High Castle and in Netflix’s Hemlock Grove, as Dr. Johann Pryce.

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

Joel’s work on Hold These Truths has spanned more than ten years and has been acclaimed as a “tour de force” and “a master class in acting.” Nominated for Best Solo Performance in a New York premiere by the Drama Desk Awards, Joel portrays the life of American hero Gordon Hirabayashi through the creation of more than 35 characters during his performance.

Playwright Jeanne Sakata and Joel de la Fuente. Photo by Lia Chang

Playwright Jeanne Sakata will be in attendance to celebrate this special performance of Hold These Truths on Angel Island.

All Proceeds Benefit the Marin Montessori School Tuition Assistance Program.

The Power of Community:
At Marin Montessori School, more than a third of our students receive Tuition Assistance. Without TA, these students–our children, our children’s friends, and their families–could not be part of the MMS community. Our mission to educate confident thinkers and compassionate leaders who will shape the future is only possible when we have open doors for students eager to learn and driven by the power of curiosity. You can make that goal a reality by helping to raise more than $250,000 for Marin Montessori’s Tuition Assistance program through your sponsorships.

The Gather for Good: The Power of Story starts the moment you step onto the private ferry and make your way to the jewel of San Francisco Bay, Angel Island State Park. Upon landing at Ayala Cove, guests will be greeted by new friends and old and invited to mingle and enjoy live music at our dockside cocktail reception.

Next, gather your friends and take a stroll to find your dinner served family-style under the Coastal Live Oaks. Enjoy stunning bay views while sharing a traditional lobster feast and raise your glass with Head of School Sam Shapiro as he toasts the transformational efforts of our parent community and educators.

Finally, join us fireside in the Cove to experience the evening’s program and performance of Jeanne Sakata’s acclaimed one-person play, Hold These Truths, by actor Joel de la Fuente.

Schedule of Events:
4:30: Arrival & Check-in, Tiburon Ferry Terminal
5:00 Ferry Departs, Angel Island-Tiburon Ferry Terminal
5:15: Dockside Reception, Ayala Cove Pier Angel Island
6:00: Seated Dinner & Welcome, Coastal Live Oak Grove
7:00: Fireside Program & Dessert, Ayala Cove
8:30: Fund-a-Need, Ayala Cove
9:00: Ferry Departs to Tiburon

Click here to purchase tickets.

Hold These Truths, an exceptional evening of theatrical storytelling, tells the inspirational true story of a civil rights hero, Gordon Hirabayashi, who took his World War ll fight for his constitutional rights all the way to the Supreme Court. Playwright Jeanne Sakata relayed to BroadwayWorld, “In the 1990’s, I saw on PBS a documentary film made by John de Graaf called A Personal Matter: Hirabayashi vs. The United States, where I first learned about Gordon. And I was just floored, because here was this absolutely riveting story about a young Japanese American college student who had taken such a brave stand for his rights as an American citizen, and I had never heard about him. It was fascinating, and enthralling, and also upsetting at the same time. I asked myself the same question that many people ask when they come to see the play: “Why haven’t I heard this story before? Why isn’t it in our history books?” After that, I became absolutely obsessed with the story and determined that I was going to find out everything I could about it.”

75 years ago, Executive Order 9066 called for all people of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast to be ripped from their homes and forced into barbed-wire prison camps, without due process of law. Amid the chaos, one young student stood up for what he passionately believed were his rights as an American citizen. Based on a true story which follows the life of civil rights hero Gordon Hirabayashi, Hold These Truths is a shockingly relevant cautionary tale of the injustices perpetrated when nationalism, fear, and hysteria collide.

The highly acclaimed one-person play detailing the life of American hero Gordon Hirabayashi is receiving a special adaptation by the playwright for this intimate private showing.

Jeanne Sakata

Jeanne Sakata‘s solo play Hold These Truths (2013 Drama Desk Nomination, Outstanding Solo Performance; 2019 San Diego Critics’ Circle Award, Outstanding Solo Performance; 2019 Theatre Bay Awards, Outstanding Production, Principal Performance and Direction) has won accolades in over twenty productions, most recently at San Francisco Playhouse, Capital Stage, and San Diego Rep, with extended runs at Barrington Stage, Arena Stage and TheatreWorks Silicon Valley. Winning raves from The New Yorker, New York Times, and other AP critics, it has also been produced at the Guthrie Theater, Pasadena Playhouse, Portland Center Stage, ACT Seattle, PlayMakers Rep, Perseverance Theatre, Honolulu Theatre for Youth (Daniel Dae Kim, co-producer), Terra Nova Collective, Silk Road Rising, Coachella Valley Rep, New Century Theatre, Plays and Players. Premiering with the East West Players in Los Angeles, and then Off-Broadway with the Epic Theatre Ensemble, the play was originally commissioned by Chay Yew, former director of CTG’s Asian Theatre Workshop, and further developed with the Lark Play Development Center and the New York Theatre Workshop. It is also available as an audio play, produced by L.A. Theatre Works, as is Jeanne’s latest 2021 work, For Us All, commissioned by L.A. Theatre Works and inspired by the 1980’s coram nobis legal battle of Fred Korematsu.

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; 2011 Outstanding Artist Award, Los Angeles’ Pacific American Friends of Theatre. www.jeannesakata.comwww.holdthesetruths.info

Angel Island Conservancy
Angel Island Conservancy (AIC) is a nonprofit organization that works in partnership with Angel Island State Park (AISP) and California State Parks (CSP) to facilitate the preservation, restoration, and interpretation of historical and natural resources on AISP. Our goal is to create an awe-inspiring visitor experience and to build a community in support of the park.

Lia Chang

Lia Chang loves to tell stories that are diverse and inclusive – as an actor, a multi-media content producer, award-winning filmmaker, and a performing arts photographer and documentarian. Photo archives: Lia Chang Theater Portfolio collection,1989-2011, housed in the AAPI collection in the Library of Congress’ Asian Reading Room; Lia Chang Photography Collection in The Billy Rose Theatre Division of the New York Public Library. Awards: 2000 OCA Chinese American Journalist Award, the 2001 AAJA National Award for New Media. Lia is an AAJA Executive Leadership Graduate (2000), a Western Knight Fellow at USC’s Annenberg College of Communications for Specialized Journalism on Entertainment Journalism in the Digital Age (2000), a National Press Photographers Association Visual Edge/Visual Journalism Fellow at the Poynter Institute for New Media (2001), a Scripps Howard New Media Fellow at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism (2002), and a National Tropical Garden Environmental Journalism Fellow (2003). A co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, Lia makes films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. She stars in and is the Executive Producer for the indie films Hide and Seek (AA Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Best Actress Nomination), Rom-Com Gone Wrong, and When the World Was Young (2021 DisOrient Film Audience Choice Award for Best Short Narrative). Lia has also appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, and The Last Dragon. Along with an extensive career in Off-Broadway productions, favorite stage credits include her debut as Liat in a national tour of South Pacific with Barbara Eden and Robert Goulet and playing Joy in Signature Theatre’s revival of Sam Shepard’s Chicago. www.liachang.com, www.liachangphotography.com

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