SAN DIEGO — The Old Globe announces its inaugural “New Voices in the Community” series: free public performances at libraries across San Diego County, followed by conversations with the playwrights and experts in the community.
The first “New Voices in the Community” features three solo shows by women: “Hold These Truths” by Jeanne Sakata, “‘A’ Train” by Anne Torsiglieri, and “Unveiled: A One-Woman Play” by Rohina Malik.
The series builds on the success of The Old Globe’s annual Powers New Voices Festival, which brings new work to the Globe’s stages every January. The Old Globe believes that theatre matters, and our work each day is to make theatre matter to more people. With “New Voices in the Community,” the Globe brings exciting contemporary playwrights to San Diego’s neighborhoods, collaborating with the San Diego library system to broaden the city’s access to new plays.
The Old Globe, in partnership with the Mira Mesa Public Library, kicks off the series on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 2 p.m. with “Hold These Truths,” directed by Jessica Kubzansky and performed by Ryun Yu. The library is located at 8405 New Salem St. The performance is free to the public. Reservations recommended: https://sandiego.librarymarket.com/old-globes-community-voices.
During World War II, in Seattle, University of Washington student Gordon Hirabayashi fights the U.S. government’s orders to forcibly remove and mass-incarcerate all people of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast. As he struggles to reconcile his country’s betrayal with his passionate belief in the U.S. Constitution, Gordon begins a 50-year journey toward a greater understanding of America’s triumphs — and a confrontation with its failures. New York Theatre Review calls it “a play where one man’s singular story, so full of heart and heartbreak, can speak to the struggles of an entire nation.”
Sakata is a renowned actor and playwright known for using her passion, versatility, talent, and wit to provoke public conversation about culturally significant topics. Her talents span theatre, film, television, and voice-over, with productions in 2017-2018 of her nationally acclaimed solo play “Hold These Truths” (2013 Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Solo Performance) at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, Hang A Tale/Sheen Center in New York City, The Lyric Stage Company of Boston, and Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.
She has had guest and recurring roles on “Big Hero 6: The Series,” “Dr. Ken,” and Bravo’s “True Fiction.” She has also had acclaimed comic turns onstage in the 2015 Los Angeles Times Critic’s Choice “Figaro” at A Noise Within, and “A Single Shard” at People’s Light & Theatre Company. Sakata can also be heard as Soon Yang in Jennifer Phang’s acclaimed indie sci-fi film “Advantageous,” streaming exclusively on Netflix (2015 Sundance Film Festival’s U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Collaborative Vision, 2016 Film Independent Spirit Award nomination).
Kubzansky has been an Aatistic director of Boston Court Pasadena since its inception, and is an award-winning director working nationally. She was privileged to develop and direct the world premiere of “Hold These Truths” (originally called “Dawn’s Light”) at East West Players in 2007, and has directed many subsequent productions, including at A Contemporary Theatre, Portland Center Stage, Pasadena Playhouse, and most recently Arena Stage.
For Boston Court, Kubzansky has directed Luis Alfaro’s “Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles” at Getty Villa and Sheila Callaghan’s “Everything You Touch” at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater/Cherry Lane Theatre. At Boston Court, her directing credits include the upcoming world premiere of Sarah B. Mantell’s “Everything That Never Happened,” the West Coast premiere of Julia Lederer’s “With Love and a Major Organ,” “Camino Real,” “Mother Courage and Her Children,” and the world premieres of Stefanie Zadravec’s “Colony Collapse,” “Everything You Touch,” Kubzansky’s “R II” (a three-person adaptation of Richard II), Michael Elyanow’s “The Children,” Jordan Harrison’s “Futura,” Laura Schellhardt’s “Courting Vampires,” Nick Salamone and Maury McIntyre’s “Gulls,” Mickey Birnbaum’s “Bleed Rail,” Carlos Murillo’s “Unfinished American Highwayscape #9 & 32,” Jean Claude Van Itallie’s “Light,” and Cody Henderson’s “Cold/Tender.”
Her other credits include Sofia Alvarez’s “Amos & Boris” and Aditi Kapil’s “Orange” (South Coast Repertory), “Stupid F***ing Bird” (A Contemporary Theatre), “Pygmalion and Mauritius” (Pasadena Playhouse), and “Hamlet with Leo Marks” (Theatre 150). Kubzansky has received many awards and honors, among them the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle’s Margaret Harford Award for sustained excellence in theatre.
Yu plays the recurring character of Pastor Daniel Kwon in the FX show “Baskets” starring Zach Galifianakis and Louie Anderson. He has done two pilots for NBC and one for CBS, working with James Burrows, John Wells, Henry Winkler, Sissy Spacek, Janeane Garofalo, and others. He has also played characters on “Fuller House,” TBS’ “Animal Kingdom,” and the new Amazon series “Forever” with Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen. In film, he played Mark in the film adaptation of David Henry Hwang’s “Bondage” and DHH in “Yellow Face,” which was the first adaptation of a major play for YouTube, where it can still be viewed.
In theatre, Yu originated the role of Gordon Hirabayashi in “Hold These Truths” at East West Players in 2007 and has since performed it to sold-out houses at A Contemporary Theatre, Portland Center Stage, Pasadena Playhouse, and most recently Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. He also originated the lead role of Takeshi in the world premiere of Kimber Lee’s “tokyo fish story” at South Coast Repertory. Yu’s other theatre credits include the West Coast premiere of Richard Greenberg’s “Take Me Out” (Geffen Playhouse), the world premiere of Lloyd Suh’s “American Hwangap” (Magic Theatre) and “Art” and the Los Angeles premiere of Julia Cho’s “The Language Archive” (East West Players).
As a writer and director, Yu directed and co-wrote the feature film “The Last Tour ,” which won the Jury Prize for Best Screenplay at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and was also selected for the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival and the Korean American Film Festival New York. He is the first Korean American to train at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. He also has the first theatre degree ever awarded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“‘A’ Train” will be performed on Saturday, Nov. 10, at 3 p.m. at San Diego Central Library, 330 Park Blvd., and “Unveiled” on Friday, Nov. 30, at 4 p.m. at Otay Mesa Public Library, 3003 Coronado Ave.