The Memorial to Japanese American Patriotism in World War II sits quietly in the shadow of our lawmakers in Senate Park. In its center is a sculpture of two Japanese cranes caught in barbed wire by artist Nina Akamu. Starting the morning of July 9th, the silence will be broken with people, puppets, and music – when our company of nine actors descend to tell the story of the Japanese American families and the men who left the California internment camps to fight for their country.
The story we are telling was devised especially for the Memorial, which puts into sharp relief the times when we Americans have lived up to our ideals and times when we have fallen short of them. As Attorney General Janet Reno said at the dedication of the Memorial, “We are diminished when any American is targeted unfairly because of his or her heritage. This memorial and the internment sites are powerful reminders that stereotyping, discrimination, hatred and racism have no place in this country.”
During World War II, the government removed Japanese Americans from their homes and detained them in remote places like Manzanar, California. This imprisonment without trial or due process was fueled by fear and racism. It remains a dark chapter of our history.
Broadway audiences will learn the story this Fall when George Takei, whose family was forced into several internment camps, opens the new musical Allegiance.
Director Hope Villanueva and her company are spinning history into a fable using animal characters. In The Little Crane, we follow a family of young cranes who, in the face of prejudice, travel to a new land to create a home for themselves. You can be comfortable bringing children. Little Crane is suitable for families with children as young as 3rd Grade.
The play examines what it means to be an outsider trying to be accepted, as well as an insider learning kindness and understanding, ideas that are poignantly echoed in the recent headlines celebrating the rights of same-sex couples and decrying the continuing racial struggles in America. Little Crane honors those who endured the American internment camps and reminds us all to look past the surface in a time when we need understanding more than ever.
July 9 — Aug 2, 2015
The Little Crane and The Long Journey
at the Japanese American Memorial, New Jersey Ave, Louisiana Ave and D Street NW
starting July 9 at 10AM
Capital Fringe 2015
1358-60 Florida Ave. NE
Washington, DC 20002
and other locations
Fringe details and Tickets
David August is an actor, producer and director. He performed in his script “Bring the Funny” which was produced by We Make Movies at YouTube Space LA and just won an award at a festival in NYC. He is in the upcoming feature film “Dependent’s Day” and last year sold a short script he wrote titled “Room 313” which Try Film Productions shot last year. He recently appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live on ABC, History Channel and A&E, and on stage has worked with Second City, Chicago Shakespeare and many others.
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