2010 / World War II experiences and aftereffects to be depicted at “The Betrayed,” a play by a 87-year old Nisei playwright, Nov 6

Play Betrayed

Cultural News, 2010 October Issue

“The Betrayed,” a play by Nisei playwright Hiroshi Kashiwagi, will have its Orange County premiere on Saturday, November 6 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Orange County Buddhist Church in Anaheim.

Presented by Orange County Buddhist Church’s Project Kokoro and produced by the Grateful Crane Ensemble,“ the two-act play deals with the conflict caused by two government-issued “loyalty” questions #27 & #28 in February 1943, and how these questions separated individuals—and an entire community—into two opposing factions.

“At its core, the play is a love story,” said Soji Kashiwagi, Executive Producer of the Grateful Crane Ensemble, and son of the playwright.

“A country boy from California falls in love with a city girl from Seattle at Tule Lake.  Everything is fine until they end up on opposite sides of questions #27 and #28, and break up because of it.”

In Act II, 40 years have passed and we meet Tak and Grace again and discover how these questions, and their decisions back in camp affected them for the rest of their lives.

“This issue has remained unresolved in our community for over 60 years,” said Kashiwagi.  “My father has written a play that shines a light on both sides of controversy, and through these two characters, our hope is to bring much needed healing and understanding of what exactly happened back then.”

“It also examines issues of loyalty, disloyalty, duty to one’s county and standing up for one’s Constitutional rights—all issues that are relevant in our country and society today,” he said.

Directed by Darrell Kunitomi, with original music by Scott Nagatani, the show features Brian Takahashi and Diana Toshiko as the young couple in camp, and Kurt Kuniyoshi and Helen Ota as Tak and Grace 40 years later.  Mary Kageyama Nomura, aka the “Songbird of Manzanar,” will also be on hand to sing a special song at the top of the show.

After the show, playwright Hiroshi Kashiwagi and Seattle-based Nisei author Mary Matsuda Gruenewald will present a special post-show panel presentation.

Kashiwagi, 87, will talk about being a “No-No Boy,” and how the stigma attached to it has affected him throughout his life.  Gruenewald, 85, will share how a sister of a Nisei veteran was able to reach a new understanding of the “No No” position after researching her autobiography, and listening to Kashiwagi’s story.

After the presentations, audience members will have the opportunity to ask questions and participate in a community dialogue about a subject long-considered “taboo” and “untouchable” within the Japanese American community.

Originally funded by a grant from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program, the Orange County production of “The Betrayed” is sponsored in part by Hiroshi & Sadako Kashiwagi and Tak & Terry Kosakura.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit Orange County Buddhist Church’s 50th Anniversary Building Fund.

General admission tickets are $25; $23 for seniors (65+) and students and $20 for groups of ten or more.

Tickets will be held at will call for each show.  If available, tickets can also be purchased at the door on the day of the shows.

Seating is on a first-come, first served basis, and there is a limited number of tickets for each show.

For tickets and reservations, call Kathy Ito at (714) 401-8711 or Diana Ono at (310) 508-3966.