“The Betrayed,” a play by Nisei playwright Hiroshi Kashiwagi, will have its Orange County premiere on Saturday, Nov. 6 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Orange County Buddhist Church in Anaheim.
Presented by OCBC’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. 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.
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 within the Japanese American community.
A portion of the proceeds will benefit OCBC’s 50th Anniversary Building Fund. General admission tickets are $25; $23 for seniors (65+) and students and $20 for groups of 10 or more. Seating is on a first-come, first served basis, and there is a limited number of tickets for each show. For tickets call Kathy Ito at (714) 401-8711 or Diana Ono at (310) 508-3966.