SAN FRANCISCO — “Hold These Truths” by Jeanne Sakata, directed by Jeffrey Lo, and starring Jomar Tagatac, will be presented by San Francisco Playhouse on stage for in-person audiences and as an on-demand video stream from June 8 to July 3.
“Hold These Truths” is based on the incredible true story of one of America’s unsung heroes. In February 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, authorizing the relocation and incarceration of tens of thousands of innocent American citizens of Japanese ancestry. Among these citizens was Gordon Hirabayashi, whose defiance of the internment order catapulted him into a 50-year journey of conscience to protect the Constitution from a country that viewed him as the enemy.
“Hold These Truths” was inspired by many hours of interviews conducted by playwright Sakata with Hirabayashi as well as numerous primary sources from his life.
President Obama posthumously awarded Hirabayashi in 2012 a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
This is the first production that San Francisco Playhouse will present for in-person audiences since the coronavirus pandemic began. “We are hard at work expanding our health and safety protocols to welcome audiences back inside on June 8, 2021,” said a spokesperson. “Masks and social distancing will be required at all performances of ‘Hold These Truths,’ and our box office staff is developing mechanisms by which audience members will be seated apart from one another. A detailed performance schedule, seating capacity, and ticket information will be released soon.”
Sakata’s celebrated solo play (2013 Drama Desk nomination, outstanding solo performance; 2019 Theatre Bay Awards, outstanding production, principal performance and direction) won accolades in 2019 at San Diego Rep and Barrington Stage (encore run by audience demand) after extended 2018 runs at Arena Stage and TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, and sold-out shows with the Guthrie Theater, Pasadena Playhouse, Portland Center Stage, ACT Seattle, and PlayMakers Rep.
“Hold These Truths” was recently aired on TV in Philadelphia’s local PBS station, WHYY, in a filmed performance produced by People’s Light and Theatre, and is available internationally as a radio play, produced by L.A. Theatre Works.
The play, winning rave reviews from The New Yorker, New York Times, and other AP critics, has also been produced in recent years at Perseverance Theatre, Honolulu Theatre for Youth (Daniel Dae Kim, co-producer), Terra Nova Collective, Silk Road Rising, Coachella Valley Rep, Plays and Players, and New Century Theatre.
Premiering with East West Players in Los Angeles (under a different title), and then Off-Broadway with the Epic Theatre Ensemble, the play was workshopped by the Lark Play Development Center and the New York Theatre Workshop.
“Hold These Truths,” now published by Ageloff Books and available on Amazon, is also on display at the Library of Congress Playwrights Archive in the Asian American Pacific Islander Collection in Washington, D.C., where the Jeanne Sakata Collection was established in July 2011.
Sakata’s latest work, “For Us All,” a radio play commissioned by LA Theatre Works and inspired by the 1980s coram nobis legal battle of Fred Korematsu, will be broadcast on radio in 2021.
The play is approximately 90 minutes with no intermission. Tickets are $15 to $100. To buy in-person and video tickets, call (415) 677-9596 or click here: https://www.sfplayhouse.org/sfph/2020-2021-season/hold-these-truths/
San Francisco Playhouse is located at 450 Post St., Floor 2M, San Francisco CA 94102.