Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Pan Asian Repertory Theatre Announces Cast And Creative Team For Return Engagement Of NO-NO BOY

Pan Asian Repertory Theatre Announces Cast And Creative Team For Return Engagement Of NO-NO BOYPan Asian Repertory Theatre (Tisa Chang, Artistic Producing Director), in tandem with "Day of Remembrance", opens its 41st season on themes of social justice and historic amnesia with the special return engagement of the acclaimed play NO-NO BOY by Ken Narasaki, based on the groundbreaking novel by John Okada. Directed by Ron Nakahara, the cast will feature Leanne Cabrera, Dinh James Doan, Chris DoiDavid Huynh, Scott Kitajima, Karen Tsen LeeClaro de los Reyes, Shigeko Sara SugaHansel Tan, and Tony Vo.

Performances are set to begin February 7, 2018 for a limited engagement through February 18, 2018 at The Studio Theatre at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street). Opening Night is set for Sunday, February 11, 2018 at 3:00 p.m.

Set after World War II as Japanese Americans return to the West Coast, NO-NO BOY follows Ichiro Yamada, who struggles to reconnect with the Seattle community, after taking a bold stance on questions of allegiance. NO-NO BOY received critical acclaimed when it was presented in 2014 by Pan Asian Rep, and returned to NYC in 2016 prior to embarking on a national tour where the play received rave reviews in Washington, D.C.

The limited run of NO-NO BOY is running in tandem with the Day of Remembrance (DOR), a day commemorating the Japanese American internment during World War II. Events in numerous U.S. States are held on or near February 19, the day in 1942 that Executive Order 9066 was signed, requiring internment of all Americans of Japanese ancestry.

Ken Narasaki stated, "Even today, the term ["No-No Boy"] can spark bitter explosions amongst people who remain angry about the kinds of real life-or-death decisions they and their generation were forced to make."

John Stoltenberg of DC Metro Theater Arts says: "No-No Boy is an extraordinary and essential play. It's about what happened to innocent people when this country demonized and incarcerated Japanese Americans during World War II. To witness it now-as anti-Muslim rumblings are being trumped up to a roar...I can only urge everyone who cares about how theater connects to this country's past and future to catch Pan Asian Rep's No-No Boy wherever whenever you can."

The creative team includes sets by Sheryl Liu (Sayonara, Film Chinois), costumes by Hyun Sook Kim (A Dream of Red Pavilions), lights by Leslie Smith (Acquittal), and sound by Ian Wehrle (Fishing For Wives). The Production Stage Manager is Elis C. Arroyo with Sabrina Morabito.

NO-NO BOY will play the following performance schedule: Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday & Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets NOW ON SALE are priced at $43.25 for all performances and may be purchased through Telecharge at www.telecharge.com<http://www.telecharge.com>, or by calling 212-239-6200. For information on Group, Senior, or Student Discounts, please email info@panasianrep.orginfo@panasianrep.org>, or call (212) 868-4030.


Ken Narasaki (Playwright). His plays include the recent adaptation of NO-NO BOY and the award-winning plays Innocent When You Dream (2006 Kuma Kahua Pacific Rim Award), The Mikado Project (co-written with Doris Baizley - 2008 Kuma Kahua Pacific Rim Award), and Ghosts and Baggage. As an actor, he starred in "Zwei Profis" for German television, and appeared in Lane Nishikawa's Only The Brave. He has also appeared in nearly 60 plays, including Po Boy Tango, A Winter People, and Theory of Everything, in Chicago, Los Angeles, Singapore, New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Sacramento, and elsewhere.

Ron Nakahara (Director) has been an actor/director in New York City since 1979 and was designated a Senior Artist with Pan Asian Repertory Theatre in 1987 and is an Artistic Associate. Ron has directed one-woman shows at Don't Tell Mama and The Duplex, and has worked extensively with and directed the Asian-American performance group SLANT at La MaMa ETC, and NYSF Public Theatre. His other directing credits in New York include NAATCO, and Ensemble Studio Theatre. His regional credits include The Studio Theatre (Washington, DC), Hartford Stage Co., Fulton Opera House (Lancaster, PA) where his production of Miss Ever's Boys won him a best director award, Honolulu Theatre for Youth, New York State Theatre Institute, Hangar Theatre (Ithaca,) Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Virginia Stage Company (Norfolk,) and Actor's Theatre of Louisville. In addition, Ron has also directed for New York University and Virginia Commonwealth University. He has served on several NEA panels and was one of the first recipients of an NEA/TCG Directing Fellowship. He is a member of SDC, SAG-AFTRA, and AEA.

Tisa Chang (Pan Asian Rep Founding Artistic Producing Director) has led the company since its inception promoting stories seldom told and voices seldom heard. She has been a theatre professional for 5 decades as actor, dancer director. Highlights include: Sayonara (2015); The Joy Luck Club (2007); intercultural epic Cambodia Agonistes which toured nationally and to Cairo and Johannesburg; Kwatz! The Tibetan Project; and Rashomon (2003) which was invited to Havana Theatre Festival. She innovated premieres in English and Mandarin Chinese of the Peking opera, Return of the Phoenix, and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Pan Asian Repertory Theatre, founded 41 years ago, is the East Coast's most veteran producer of Asian American theatre dedicated to providing a professional forum to Asian American and minority artists. Led by Tisa Chang, Pan Asian Rep has opened doors for many who enjoy careers in film, television and on Broadway. Daniel Dae KimLucy LiuTina ChenDavid Henry Hwang and Philip Kan Gotanda are some of the alumni artists who have collaborated with Pan Asian Rep over the years. The company has been invited to many international theater festivals including Edinburgh, Singapore, Cairo and Johannesburg. It was the first professional theater from the United States to be invited to the Havana Theatre Festival in 2003. As noted by Variety Magazine, "....the aesthetic mission and professional chops of the Pan Asian Repertory Theatre are admirable." The 41st Season will begin the company's multi-year process for growth and transition to embrace expanded leadership towards a visionary new future with national and international collaborations.

Pan Asian Theatre Programs are made possible, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council; City Council member Margaret Chin and major support from the Ford, Shubert, Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels, and Lucille LortelFoundations; 21st Century Heritage Fund, and many Individual donors.


Thursday, November 23, 2017

Pan Asian Rep (212) 868-4030 | info@panasianrep.org

Tisa Chang, Artistic Producing Director

Written by Ken Narasaki
Adapted from the Novel by John Okada
Directed by Ron Nakahara

February 7-18, 2018 at the Studio Theatre
at Theatre Row (410 W. 42nd Street)

(New York, NY) – Tisa Chang, Artistic Producing Director of PAN ASIAN REPERTORY THEATRE, announces for its 41st season with a special limited run - in tandem with DAY OF REMEMBRANCE - of NO-NO BOY by
Ken Narasaki, directed by Ron Nakahara, and based on the groundbreaking novel by John Okada
NO-NO BOY will run from February 7-18, 2018 at The Studio Theatre at Theatre Row (410 W. 42nd Street).

John Stoltenberg of DC Metro Theatre Arts says “NO-NO BOY is… extraordinary and essential theater. It's a play about what happened to innocent people when this country demonized and incarcerated Japanese Americans during World War II. To witness it now—as anti-Muslim rumblings are being trumped up to a roar—is to be shell-shocked by how close we are to seeing that horrific and fear-fueled history repeat. …I urge
everyone who cares about how theater connects to this country's past and future to catch it if you can.”

Ken Narasaki says, “Even today, the term [“No-No Boy”] can spark bitter explosions amongst people who remain angry about the kinds of real life-or-death decisions they and their generation were foced to make…”
Tisa Chang says, “we are proud to continue the stage life of NO-NO BOY of a period of historical amnesia but where questions of allegiance and what it means to be an American are asked again.”
The sterling cast features Leanne Cabrera, Chris Doi, Scott Watanabe, Glenn Kubota, Karen Tsen Lee,
Claro de los Reyes, Shigeko Sara Suga, Hansel Tan, and Tony Vo.
Stage Managers: Elis C. Arroyo and Sabrina Morabito.

 The veteran design team include: Sets by Sheryl Liu (SAYONARA, A DREAM OF RED PAVILIONS);
Lights by Leslie
Smith, (ACQUITTAL); Costumes by Hahnji Jang (NO-NO BOY) and
Sound by Ian Wehrle (FISHING FOR WIVES).

Playwright KEN NARASAKI’s plays include the recent adaptation of NO-NO BOY, award-winning plays INNOCENT WHEN YOU DREAM (winner 2006 Kuma Kahua Pacific Rim Award), and THE MIKADO PROJECT (co-written with Doris Baizley – winner, 2008 Kuma Kahua Pacific Rim Award), and GHOSTS AND BAGGAGE. As an actor, he starred in ZWEI PROFIS for German television, and appeared in Lane Nishikawa’s ONLY THE BRAVE; he’s also appeared in nearly 60 plays, including PO BOY TANGO, A WINTER PEOPLE, and THEORY OF EVERYTHING, in Chicago, Los Angeles, Singapore, New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Sacramento, and elsewhere.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

DC Metro Review 2016

Review: ‘No-No Boy’ at Pan Asian Repertory Theatre

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No-No Boy is an extraordinary and essential play. It’s about what happened  to innocent people when this country demonized and incarcerated Japanese Americans during World War II. To witness it now—as anti-Muslim rumblings are being trumped up to a roar—is to be shell-shocked by how close we are to seeing that horrific and fear-fueled history repeat.
No-No Boy has been adapted into a tight, intense script by playwright and actor Ken Narasaki from the 1957 novel of the same name by John Okada. The pioneering New York City–based Pan Asian Repertory Theatre brought its simply staged production of the play to DC for two performances only, in the Burke Theatre, an auditorium with amphitheater seating inside the  Naval Heritage Center. The lobby display ambiance underscored graphically the military context of the play’s events. Directed with precision by Ron Nakahara and performed by a sterling cast of ten, No-No Boy blew me away from the very beginning.
The play is set in Seattle in 1946 as Japanese Americans are returning to their homes from the internment camps (“fenced…in the desert like they do the Jews in Germany,” as we hear a voice say). It follows the story of a young man named Ichiro (played with compelling focus by Chris Doi), who has just returned from two years in prison for refusing the draft. In a cinematic flow of episodes from Ichiro’s encounters with his family, friends, and others, No-No Boy  tells interwoven stories of how the war changed the lives of some dozen Japanese American characters in disparate and interconnected ways.
Projected onto an upstage screen is a huge Selective Service System seal, along with the text of two questions that we hear an official voice intone, demanding young men to answer in the affirmative:
Question 27: Are you willing to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States on combat duty wherever ordered?
Question 28: Will you swear unqualified allegiance to the United States of America and faithfully defend the United States from any or all attack by foreign or domestic forces, and forswear any form of allegiance or obedience to the Japanese emperor…?
When that loyalty oath was administered to Ichiro in the internment camp where he and his family had been sent, he answered both questions in the negative—hence the slur “no-no boy.” Now that the internment is over, other young men are saying yes and yes—and signing on to fight against the country where their forebears live.
During the course of No-No Boy some of the recruits return, some don’t. Some of their family members cope, some are shattered. Some in their circles assimilate as patriotic Americans, some remain torn. But the implicit personal and cultural conflicts wrought by this momentous military engagement will implode inside the lives everyone we are about to meet.
No-No Boy dramatizes a complex of perspectives, some of them contradictory, among Japanese Americans at the time; admirably, it does not mythologize a monolithic ethnic viewpoint. For instance Ichiro’s family is  divided over the conflict. His Ma  (Karen Tsen Lee)  is certain that Japan has won the war—and all else to the contrary is propaganda. His Pa (Glenn Kubota) loves her very much though he knows she is delusional, and he chastises Ichiro for confronting her and calling her crazy. What happens when Ma finally realizes the reality of what has happened to her homeland is heartbreaking.
In another stirring scene, Ichiro visits the home of Mr. and Mrs. Kumasaka (Scott Kitajima and Shigeko Sara Suga). They had a son named Bobby, and as his battle buddy Jun (Claro de los Reyes) relates the story of how Bobby was shot (“Ping, and he’s dead”), we hear the inconsolable keening of Mrs. Kumasaka.
Ichiro meets a friend he hasn’t seen in years named Eto (another remarkable performance by de los Reyes). Upon learning that Ichiro is a No-No boy, Eto spits at him with contempt. Another friend of Ichiro’s who served in the U.S. military—Freddie (an impressive Hansel Tan)—is far more supportive, to the extent that he fixes Itchiro up with Emi (a wonderful Leanne Cabrera). Her husband has been away for four years, re-upping in the army in Germany apparently with no intention to come back to her. With Freddie’s encouragement as well as Emi’s, Itchiro begins a relationship with her. They have a sweet scene in which they mime playing the piano together (“Do you know ‘Chopsticks’?” she asks in an instance of the script’s wit). It is as if in their mutually healing romance, Itchiro finds the acceptance and place in the world he has been bereft of since the war.
Other notable performances are given by Don Castro as Kenji, a friend of Itchiro’s who lost a leg in combat, and Tony Vo as Taro, Itchiro’s younger brother, who intends to enlist. When Itchiro asks him to think it over, Taro replies angrily, in a speech that conveys something of the passions coursing through this play:
I had plenty of time to think about it when you were in prison and here’s what I think: We were BORN here, we play BALL here, we listen to music here, we’re gonna get married here, we’re gonna have kids here. We OWE this country something for that! Let Ma believe whatever she believes, let Pa go along with it if that’s what he wants, but me? I’m an AMERICAN and I’m going to fight like an American! You and your pals? You had your chance and what did you prove? That they were RIGHT NOT TO TRUST YOU!
Sheryl Liu’s minimalist set makes effective use of a small table (which became that piano) and wooden folding chairs (which become a hospital bed, an automobile, a living room). The sound design by Ian Wehrle amplified those simple set pieces with such a vivid sense of place no more seemed needed. A lighting design was not utilized at the Burke, just a plain wash on the stage, which worked fine in the circumstances. And knife-fight choreography by Michael C. Chin was electricly authentic.
I spoke after the show with Nakahara and Artistic Producing Director Tisa Chang, who confirmed my supposition that the choice to produce this play now and perform it in DC had intentionally to do with the fear mongering abroad in our land. No-No Boy deserves to have real run here; it is every bit as worthy a stage work as any number of recent plays with a political conscience. Till that day comes, I can only urge everyone who cares about how theater connects to this country’s past and future to catch Pan Asian Rep’s No-No Boy wherever whenever you can.
Running Time: 90 minutes, with no intermission.
No-No Boy played June 18 and 19, 2016 at Pan Asian Repertory Theatre performing at The Burke Theatre in the Naval Heritage Center – 701 Pennsylvania Avenue, in Washington, DC.
RATING: FIVE-STARS-82x1546.gif

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Pan Asian Rep to Produce No-No Boy in May

Great news!  Great news!  PanAsian Rep will doing a short run of NO-NO BOY in New York City this May 14 to May 18th at the Studio Theatre at Theatre Row - 410 W. 42nd St, NYC.  Directed by Ron Nakahara.  Click on the link below for more details!  If you're anywhere on the East Coast or can make it to New York City that week in May, be sure to go check it out, it's going to be a terrific production.


Here's a link to a video from our LA production, just for old time's sake:


Hope you can make it - and please, spread the word!  Happy Year of the Horse!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

reading filling up

Pan Asian says to be sure to RSVP to: info@panasianrep.org - the NO-NO BOY readings for 7pm Friday, 11/16 and 3pm Saturday, 11/17 are filling up!  Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Flyer for the Pan Asian Rep Reading

Pan Asian Repertory Theater
2012/13 36th Masterpiece Season
Tisa Chang, Artistic Producing Director

PLAYS IN PROCESS Staged Readings 2012
November 16 at 7:00pm, November 17 at 3:00pm
at 520 8th Ave, Bruce Mitchell Room (between 36th & 37th Streets) 3rd Floor
Suggested donation of $10 collected at the door for refreshments and Q&A
To RSVP please email info@panasianrep.org  or call 212/868-4030

By Ken Narasaki
Directed By Ron Nakahara

Based on the book by John Okada, and set in the aftermath of WWII as Japanese Americans return to the West Coast, the play follows draft resister Ichiro Yamada after he is released from prison and STRUGGLES TO COME TO TERMS WITH HIS CHOICES, while the rest of the community tries to get back on its feet after a war that has uprooted them all.

Featuring: Don Castro, Kimiye Corwin, Chris Doi, Bobby Foley, Wai Ching Ho, Dom Huynh, Glenn Kubota, Ian Wen, Virginia Wing, Henry Yuk. Stage Manager: Swaine Kaui

“NO-NO BOY by John Okada, first published in 1957, is
Description: Ken headshot 200x200.jpgsomething more than a book; it’s one of those works of art that transcends its actual form, becoming something much larger than just a novel…tackling the adaptation of this seminal novel to the stage… feels a little like saying, ‘We’re working on a stage adaptation of MOBY DICK; I think it’s going well!”

“NO-NO BOY is full of characters never seen on any stage I’ve seen.  Angry, self-destructive…wondering if they’ll ever find the America that was once promised to them.  Ironically, their nihilism is part of what makes them so vividly alive, proving that young people are the same in every generation – there exists in every generation an entire spectrum of feeling,
and the darker hues of NO-NO BOY’s characters are
ones not often seen in literature about the Nisei.”
-Ken Narasaki, playwright

To RSVP please email info@panasianrep.org  Or call 212/868-4030

Monday, September 10, 2012

Upcoming Reading in NYC

Pan Asian Repertory is going to do two readings of NO-NO BOY on November 16th and 17th, 2012 at the West End Theater in New York City as part of their Plays in Process Series. 

Will keep you informed with more information as it becomes available!