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Jeanne Sakata's DAWN'S LIGHT

Jeanne Sakata's DAWN'S LIGHT

Friday, January 14, 2011 - 12:30am

WHEN?   January 13, 14, 15 at 7:30pm
WHERE?      Millennium Park, on the heated and enclosed for the winter Jay Pritzker Pavilion stage
TICKETS?        $10, available online: or via box office at: 312-742-8947

Silk Road Theatre Project, in association with Millennium Park will be presenting the Chicago area premiere of Jeanne Sakata's DAWN'S LIGHT on January 13, 14 and 15. As Chicago's only theatre company dedicated to exclusively producing works by playwrights of Asian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean backgrounds, whose works address themes relevant to the peoples of the Silk Road and their Diaspora communities we are thrilled to be bringing Gordon's story to Chicago audiences.

The 90-minute, one actor play, chronicles the true story of one Japanese American’s enduring fight for his constitutional rights. Gordon Hirabayashi was a happy-go-lucky twenty-four-year-old college student living in Seattle when Pearl Harbor was attacked in late 1941. The government’s decision to remove and imprison all people of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast – including American citizens without due process of law – turned Gordon, a Quaker, into a crusader. Dawn’s Light faithfully documents Gordon’s historic decision to heed his conscience and pursue his faith in the protections of the Constitution all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Patrons familiar with Silk Road Theatre Project will immediately recognize how deeply this play relates to our mission. In many respects DAWN'S LIGHT is an epic love story between one man and the U.S. Constitution. Silk Road Theatre Project was founded in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the ensuing backlash against Arab and Muslim Americans. In dramatizing the tragedy faced by Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor, DAWN'S LIGHT poses questions as relevant to today as they were to that dark episode in U.S. history.

The play was written by Jeanne Sakata. Ms. Sakata labored for 10 years on DAWN'S LIGHT. Her inspiration came from many hours of interviews she conducted with Gordon Hirabayashi and several of his friends from the 1940's, by numerous letters written by Mr. Hirabayashi during his imprisonment, and by contemporary articles written by and about Mr. Hirabayashi. In experiencing DAWN'S LIGHT one can sense the deep connection between playwright and subject...perhaps it is because Jeanne herself is a child of World War II Japanese-American internees.

DAWN'S LIGHT received its world premiere at East West Players in Los Angeles in 2007. We are thrilled that we have the original director from that production, Jessica Kubzansky, and the first actor ever to portray Gordon, Ryun Yu re-uniting to bring Mr. Hirabayashi's story to Chicago. Ryun Yu is a familiar face to many; to some because of his extensive film and television credits; to others because he happens to bear a striking resemblance to Mr. Hirabayashi!

The show is a part of Millennium Park's theatre lab series, "In the Works" and will be performed on the (enclosed and heated for the winter!) stage of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, just south and east of the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street.

Ticket holders will be treated to a moving, informative story, as realized by world-class artists, in a unique setting with the Magnificent Mile as a backdrop and all for only $10.00. Each performance will be followed by a discussion with the playwright, Jeanne Sakata and Silk Road Theatre Project Artistic Director, Jamil Khoury.

Tickets are moving very rapidly, (approximately one-third of all available tickets sold within days of the announcement) and can be purchased by calling 312-742-8947 or through our website at .