‘The Betrayed,’ a Two-Act Play, to Be Presented Online

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Cast members Helen Ota and Michael Palma

Watsonville Buddhist Temple will present “The Betrayed,” a virtual two-act play by Hiroshi Kashiwagi, on Saturday, May 22, from 1 to 3 p.m.

The play is a love story about a young Nisei couple who meet at Tule Lake, fall in love, but are torn apart by two controversial, government-issued “loyalty” questions. Forty years later, they meet again and discover their answers to these questions had consequences that affected them for the rest of their lives.

During the post-screening discussion, supporters will have a chance to meet the cast members Helen Ota and Michael Palma, and discuss the long-term aftereffects of the loyalty controversy with Dr. Satsuki Ina and Soji Kashiwagi, executive director of Grateful Crane Ensemble and son of Hiroshi Kashiwagi, who passed away in 2019.

“As a ‘No-No Boy,’ my dad felt bad about the terrible split these questions caused within our Japanese American community,” said Soji Kashiwagi. “By writing this play, his hope was for reconciliation and a community healing.”

As an internee at the Tule Lake Segregation Center, Hiroshi Kashiwagi experienced first-hand the tension felt between the generations brought on by the loyalty questions posed by the government. Through his work, he wished for the decades-old rifts to find “reconciliation and a community healing.”

Hiroshi Kashiwagi, a poet, playwright and actor, was a true Japanese American treasure. As a pioneer figure in the Asian American art and literature movement, he inspired many younger artists along the way. He attended UCLA and USC and appeared in such films as the documentary “Rabbit in the Moon” and the comedy-drama “Infinity and Chashu Ramen.”

One of his books, “Swimming in the American: A Memoir and Selected Writings,” won an American Book Award in 2005.

Donation: $25 per person or $50 per household, which includes play screening and discussion. Tickets are available at Eventbrite.com. Ticket-holders will receive an email with the link to the virtual play 48 hours prior to the showing.

For more information, contact Watsonville Buddhist Temple at [email protected]

As a courtesy to those who may not be able to view the play at the scheduled time, ticket-holders can view the taped play for 36 hours after the live performance.

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