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Hold These Truths
April 6 May 1
A solo play inspired by the true story of Gordon Hirabayashi

“The internment was something I couldn’t accept myself and still maintain an honest feeling that I was a proud American citizen. I wasn’t. Unless I took a stand.” — Gordon Hirabayashi

Steven Eng plays real-life activist Gordon Hirabayashi (and 37 other characters!) in this critically acclaimed solo play. As a young man, Gordon struggles to reconcile his admiration for the U.S. Constitution with the government’s 1942 orders resulting in the forced removal and internment of over 120,000 people of Japanese descent. Marked by hope, humor, and an irrepressible zest for life, Gordon’s journey of resistance ultimately leads to the famous Supreme Court case Hirabayashi v. United States—a legacy that continues to resonate today.

Our planned 2020 production of Hold These Truths never saw a live audience, though you might have watched it online or caught the WHYY broadcast. This season, the same cast and creative team reunite to finally perform the play for you in person! 

Recommended for ages 10+ for mature themes

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Want to watch from home? 
A filmed version of 
Hold These Truths will be available to stream April 19 – May 3 for $15. Once purchased, the play can be enjoyed by everyone in your household, anytime, any number of times during the streaming period.
Click here to purchase streaming access.


Please note: masks are currently required indoors at People's Light, regardless of vaccination status. Ticket holders must show proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test, along with a valid ID, for entry into the theatre. Valid ID includes any government photo ID, or two other identifying documents, such as a W-2 form, pay stub, utility bill, or other documented evidence of name and address. Please read our full Health & Safety protocols before planning your visit.

April 6-May 1, 2022 By Jeanne Sakata Directed by Desdemona Chiang Steinbright Stage
Watch the Trailer
All productions
Cast and Creative Team
Gordon Hirabayashi
Playwright
Director
Set Designer
Costume Designer
Lighting Designer
Sound Designer
Dramaturg
Assistant Dramaturg
Stage Manager
Thoughts from the Playwright
Thoughts from the Playwright
"Great leaps . . . are made up of a thousand smaller steps of individuals who simply and irrevocably decide to take a step in the right direction."
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Show Forth Our Light
Japanese Americans and many others continue to fight against the violence, discrimination, and dehumanizing practices and policies informed by...
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For Educators
Hold These Truths, along with educational resources and livestream conversations, is available for use in educational settings.
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Read the Program
Click here for the full HOLD THESE TRUTHS program.
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Gordon Hirabayashi: A Timeline
A closer look at pivotal moments of Gordon's life.
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More Info
Relaxed Performance

Relaxed Performances offer a judgment-free environment that invites individuals with autism, ADD, ADHD, dementia, and other sensory sensitivities to enjoy theatre in a relaxed, “shush-free” zone—a great option for parents with young children, too. For each Relaxed Performance, we offer a pre-show Sensory Tour, during which patrons are able to enter the theatre space, view the set and props, and ask questions. This RP features ASL interpretation, and audio description is available upon request.
Click here to read our pre-performance guide

Sunday, April 24 at 2pm

ASL Interpretation & Audio Description

This performance features American Sign Language interpretation provided by Hands UP Productions. Audio description, provided by Nicole Sardella, is available upon request. This is also a Relaxed Performance.

Sunday, April 24 at 2pm

Open Captioning

During every performance this week, dialogue appears on an LED screen placed near the stage to benefit patrons with hearing impairments, as well as English language learners.

April 26 – May 1

Smart Caption Glasses

Our Smart Caption Glasses offer immersive, real-time captioning for live theatre. These revolutionary glasses display a synchronized transcript of the play directly on the lenses, and are customizable for your comfort. Glasses are available to reserve for performances of Hold These Truths April 22 – May 1.

Socially Distanced Performances

We have extensive protocols and precautions in place for all performances to keep audiences, staff, and artists safe. In addition, the following performances will only be sold to 50% capacity to ensure extra distance between parties.

April 12 at 7:30pm
April 15 at 7:30pm
April 22 at 7:30pm
 
April 24 at 2pm (Relaxed Performance)
April 26 at 7:30pm
April 29 at 7:30pm

Access Night

To expand access to our work, we offer 50%-off Access Nights throughout the season. The discount is automatic for this performance, no promo code required.

Tuesday, April 26 at 7:30pm

What's the Buzz?
"...90 minutes of beautifully realized theatre."
The Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Hold These Truths: A Dark Chapter Revisited

    "Eng’s handling of the text is, like the text itself, well-paced and precisely charged."

    Read the full review at performancefont.com

  • ‘Hold These Truths’, a great feat of storytelling, an acting triumph

    "Set designer Se Hyun Oh has chosen a minimalist approach, enhanced by Dawn Chiang’s elegant lighting and Hidenori Nakajo’s evocative soundscape."

    Read the full review at inquirer.com

  • Horrors of WWII’s Japanese internment camps revealed in ‘Hold These Truths’ at People’s Light

    "Playwright Jeanne Sakata and actor Steven Eng speak to the shame, horror and ultimate hope of  internment"

    Read on metrophiladelphia.com

  • At People’s Light, 1 play, 1 actor, 38 roles about the Japanese internment during World War II

    “ 'I think a number of us are trying to reconcile our own beliefs in equality and justice...' Zak Berkman, People’s producing artistic director, said."

    Read on inquirer.com