HOLD THESE TRUTHS Opens to Rave Reviews at ACT Seattle in 50th Anniversary Mainstage Season

HOLD THESE TRUTHS Opens to Rave Reviews at ACT Seattle in 50th Anniversary Mainstage Season
L to R: Director Jessica Kubzansky, actor Ryun Yu, ACT Artistic Director Kurt Beattie, playwright Jeanne Sakata

L to R: Director Jessica Kubzansky, actor Ryun Yu, ACT Artistic Director Kurt Beattie, playwright Jeanne Sakata

We have opened HOLD THESE TRUTHS in ACT Theatre’s 50th Anniversary Mainstage Season, and we are off to a great start!  A thousand congratulations and thanks to the dear friends with whom I started the HTT journey eight years ago at East West Players in LA — director Jessica Kubzansky, actor Ryun Yu, and original sound designer John Zalewski.  To the Seattle artists who joined us for this run – Ben Zamora, Brendan Patric Hogan, our stage manager Michael B. Paul, and production assistant Victoria Thompson.  To Kurt Beattie, Carlo Scandiuzzi, Joan Toggenburger and the entire staff at ACT for inviting us to be part of your Anniversary Season and  providing us with such a lovely Opening Night party.  To special guests from Gordon’s family for joining us – his wife Susan Carnahan; sister Esther Furugori and her daughters Kim, Kristin and Leanne; his son Jay Hirabayashi and wife Barbara Bourget.  Also, documentary filmmaker John de Graaf and his wife, Leslie Morishita from the Interim CDA, and so many others whose presence made the evening so very special.  Special acknowledgment to the ACT Angels on the Board of Trustees for their warm welcome, and especially to Yoshi and Naomi Minegishi, who have been so incredibly gracious and generous in their support.  Finally, a huge thanks to Libby Schoenborn and Ed Salsbury from publicity firm CW3PR for the stellar job they  have done with media relations for HTT.

And now, here are some reviews!

A Midsummer Feast of Shows Due to Open in Seattle
The Seattle Times

Misha Berson
July 31, 2015
“A hit at ACT Theatre last year, this biographical monologue honors the legacy of sociologist and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Gordon Hirabayashi.  Jeanne Sakata’s well-researched play, performed in this returning run at ACT by Ryun Yu, captures Seattle native Hirabayashi’s courageous conviction as well as his fun-loving spirit and humility.”

‘Hold These Truths’ at ACT Seattle Is a Brilliant Portrayal of a Genuine Hero
Huffington Post

L. Steven Sieden
July 30, 2015
“A simple yet stunning one-man show inspired by the life and heroism of Gordon Hirabayashi…who refused internment during World War II. Hirabayashi’s heroic stand against the United States government and the prevailing sentiment of fear and prejudice is brilliantly portrayed by Ryun Yu … a performance that at times moves the audience to tears while including several truly laughable moments.”

Hold These Truths is a MUST SEE – and bring everyone you know!
Seattle Gay News
Miryam Gordon
August 16, 2015
“A powerful 90-minute solo performance, Hold These Truths….is everything that makes theater unique, important, and amazing…Actor-turned-playwright Jeanne Sakata does a masterful job, with the help of consummate theater practitioners director Jessica Kubzansky and actor Ryun Yu….Yu brings vigor and emotion and passion and stagecraft to the task, and then just lets it fly to unspool before us…gorgeous lighting and sound design from Ben Zamora and Brendan Patrick Hogan.”

Hold These Truths: A Hometown Hero at ACT
Seattle Weekly

Alyssa Dyksterhouse
July 28, 2015
“Stunningly shines a light on a shameful chapter of Northwest (and national) history….Ryun Yu’s nuanced performance as Hirabayashi entertains and elicits emotions from empathy to ire… Jessica Kubzansky’s adroit direction works in astute tandem with Ben Zamora’s minimalist stage design; her creative blocking uses every available inch of the handsomely functional set…At its heart, Hold These Truths is an excellent exploration of being a patriot precisely when it’s most unpopular.”

Theater review: ‘Hold These Truths,’ dir. Jessica Kubzansky
UW Daily

Kevin Kwong
July 29, 2015
“An irresistible, timeless American tale of courage and heroism….Sakata’s writing dazzles with her dramatic decision to strip the stage of distractions. Bearing a cast of just actor Ryun Yu, and a simple set of four wooden chairs,…the audience’s attention is sharpened to a point and dipped in the inkwell of imagination.  Yu’s performance takes the cake…with charisma and intimacy…masterful. That a mere Nisei (the first generation born in the U.S.) UW student from Auburn was able to do all this is the strongest message of “Hold These Truths.” It is the reason why Hirabayashi’s story, and others like his, cannot be allowed to be lost in the ether.”


John de Graaf
July 30, 2015
“Yu not only plays Hirabayashi, but many other people with whom Gordon had contact during his ordeal—on a set that consists of just a stage and three chairs, which Yu moves about during his acrobatic performance. But what power in that simple setting! The complexity of the story highlights Yu’s remarkable acting skills.”

Arts Stage – Seattle Rage
Blog by Nancy Worssam
July 27, 2015
“With one gifted actor, this show will grab your emotions, and its content will stay with you long after you leave the theatre…The story with all its pain, fear, outrage, and sadness comes to life on this unadorned stage. The excellent Ryun Yu makes us feel the bewilderment, even naiveté, of Gordon as this inconceivable law is pronounced…. We understand the fear and grief of his parents. We recoil at the prejudice he encounters at school in the early days after Pearl Harbor. We are awestruck by his bravery.”

Hold These Truths: The Power of Real
Conscience and the Constitution
Frank Abe
August 14, 2015
“Having known Gordon through his visits to Seattle later in life, it’s odd to see him portrayed on stage by someone who bears such a striking resemblance. Ryun Yu captures something about the tilt of the head when Gordon would pursue a thought. He finds an expansive energy in the younger Gordon, while staying true to his pure convictions and measured speech. Yu holds the stage for 90 minutes, and earns a standing ovation every night.”

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