A Japanese American family's return home after time in an Arkansas internment camp during World War II is the subject of Philip Kan Gotanda's world-premiere, The Sisters Matsumoto, beginning performances Jan. 4, 1999 at the Seattle Repertory Theatre. The co-production by the Rep, San Jose Repertory Theatre and the Asian American Theatre Company is directed by Sharon Ott. A so-called "first audience" preview occurs Jan. 4, 1999 at the Seattle Rep's Leo K Theatre, followed by previews until the Jan. 11 opening. Performances continue to Feb. 13.
The play takes place in the same northern California where Gotanda grew up and concerns three sisters , their husbands, lovers, family and neighbors on and around their once-thriving farm. Gotanda's parents were interned in U.S. camps during World War II, when Japanese-Americans -- even those born in this country -- were considered threats to national security.
The play is about "survival skills," Gotanda said in production notes, and redefinition in a racially changed, post-war America. This is the fourth collaboration between Ott and Gotanda, who had worked together on the world premiere of his best-known work, Yankee Dawg You Die, at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre.
The three sisters are played by Kim Miyori, Lisa Li and Michi Barall. Also in the cast are Nelson Mashita, Stan Egi, Ryun Yu and Will Marchetti.
Designers are Kate Edmunds (set), Lydia Tanji (costumes), Nancy Schertler (lighting), Stephen LeGrand (sounds). Original music is by Dan Kuramoto.
Seattle Rep is at the corner of Second and Mercer in the Seattle Center. Tickets are $15-$39. Call (206) 443-2222.
-- By Kenneth Jones