Our American Voice

Our American Voice program coverJoin us every Saturday at 1 p.m. for Our American Voice, a two-person show exploring six diverse stories of Asian Pacific Americans, held every Saturday at 1pm in the gallery.

Created in partnership with East West Players for our new exhibition I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story, the performance is directed by Jennifer Chang and features Traci Kato-Kiriyama and Johnny Kwon in the six pieces written by D’Lo, Vivian Keh-Hue, Giovanni Ortega, Jeanne Sakata and Ova Saopeng, and Judy Soo Hoo.

Each piece is a slice in the life of an Asian Pacific American. Overall, they come together to form a larger picture representing the worlds of vastly different people, spanning decades and ethnicities, but ultimately united by their experience of being Asian in America. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to see the work of talented writers and actors come alive in an intimate setting!

Here are brief synopsis for the 6 pieces:

TAKING FLIGHT (excerpt) by Judy Soo hoo
Katherine Cheung defied family tradition and crossed racial lines to become the first licensed Asian American female aviator in 1932. During the 1930s, Cheung barnstormed across California, and her fame as a stunt pilot led to an invitation to join Amelia Earhart’s Ninety-Nines, an all-female flying club.

Lao-American siblings Soukki and Joy, refugees from the Vietnam War Era, must confront each other about a return trip to their homeland of Laos. How will they reconnect with a homeland that has long been forgotten and is so far away?

ALLOS (excerpt) by Giovanni Ortega
When young ALLOS arrives in the United States we witness his journey to find employment as well as acceptance amid the hardships of the Great Depression and bigotry of our past.

An immigrant Sri Lankan nurse shares her conclusions on love and loneliness in America.

HOLD THESE TRUTHS (excerpt) by Jeanne Sakata
At Seattle’s University of Washington during WWII, following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, a curfew is announced for all people of Japanese ancestry requiring them to be in their homes by 8PM. Gordon Hirabayashi, a Nisei student at the University, reluctantly obeys the order until one night when he rushes back to his YMCA dorm—and suddenly has an epiphany that stops him in his tracks.

DUTY AND DESIRE by Vivian Keh-Hue
In the midst of the trendy Koreatown club scene, an unexpected reunion occurs between childhood friends Penelope and Chester. While quick to judge one another regarding their choices in life, both characters find themselves driven by values common to the Korean American experience, having to navigate the rift between duty and desire.

Performance Dates:

Premiere at the I Want the Wide American Earth Opening Party
Friday, September 13, 2013 • 6:30PM – 10:30PM

Performances held in the exhibition gallery at 1PM each Saturday:
September 14 • September 21 • September 28
• October 5 • October 12 • October 19 • October 26

I Want the Wide American Earth tells the story of Asian and Pacific islanders in America through a series of 30 evocative banners accompanied by a selection of artifacts chosen from the collections of the Japanese American National Museum and the Riverside Metropolitan Museum. I Want the Wide American Earth runs from September 14 to October 27, 2013.

For more information about the exhibition, visit janm.org/wide-american-earth