Say, are you a teacher, a professor, community leader, or anyone who might be interested in bringing a group to see our full production of NO NO BOY next spring? Or do you know of someone in a similar position? Below is a letter we've sent out to the educators we know (admittedly, only a handful) and I thought I'd publish it here as an invitation to anyone who'd like to see the reading to judge for themselves whether or not they'd like to bring a group. It'll be totally stripped down with minimal staging, no props, costumes, etc. but I think with this kick-ass cast, you'll get a hint of the power of the full production. Words and actors, man, I think that's all you need to start. The letter is below - if you can use it, or can pass it along, please do! Contact information is included!
We will be presenting the world premiere of a new play based on John Okada’s NO-NO BOY by Ken Narasaki this spring at the Miles Memorial Playhouse in Santa Monica. In preparation for this production, we will be doing a couple of workshop readings at the Miles Memorial Playhouse in Santa Monica (2pm on October 25) and at the Japanese American National Museum (2pm on October 31) in Little Tokyo.
No-No Boy has been taught in Asian American Studies Classes since its second publication in the 1970s; originally published in 1957, it has had a tremendous impact on at least two generations of Asian American writers, performers, artists, students, and academics. Set in Seattle after the end of World War II, the story focuses on the fictional Ichiro Yamada, a young Japanese American who refused to serve in the U.S. Army after being interned with his family. He answers the infamous questions 27 and 28 on a loyalty oath administered to men of draft age in the internment camps “No” and “No” and thus becomes known, along with the other men who answered the same, as a “No-No Boy”. Returning home after two years in prison, he reconnects with Freddie, another “No-No Boy”, and Kenji, a veteran of the famous 442nd Battalion, who has lost a part of his leg and may be dying. He meets Emi, a young woman whose husband has signed up for another tour of duty, ashamed that her father was repatriated back to Japan. Each of these characters must consider their futures in their community and their country, and Ichiro must find peace within his family and within himself. Gordon Hirabayashi, who tried to challenge the constitutionality of the internment camps, says that John Okada’s book “heralded the beginning of an authentic Japanese American literature.”
This would be an excellent opportunity to introduce students to this compelling story as a new piece of theater. We are encouraging college and high school groups to attend this production and will be offering group discounts and will be happy to schedule post-show discussions for your students or group with the playwright and actors.
We would like to invite you to attend one of our readings to see for yourself if this play would be a fit with your syllabus; if so, we can give you more information about the full production. The cast for our reading includes (in alphabetical order) Keiko Agena, Emily Kuroda, John Miyasaki, Sharon Omi, Sab Shimono, Jin Suh, Greg Watanabe, Ping Wu, and Robert Wu; the readings and the production will be directed by award-winning director Alberto Isaac. You can find more information about these readings at: nonoboy2010.com
Please give us a call at 310.592.1160 to reserve your free tickets.
Thanks for your time and hope to see you at the readings.