1156 High St, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA
University of California at Santa Cruz
Berkeley, CA, USA
University of California at Berkeley
Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA
University of California at Santa Barbara
200 McAllister St, San Francisco, CA 94102, USA
Hastings College of Law
(Like many other immigrants who have come to melting-pot A...)
Like many other immigrants who have come to melting-pot America, Japanese Americans have experienced radical shifts in fortune. From the farms and small businesses founded by the first arrivals in the early years of this century, to the trauma of the relocation camps during World War II, to the search for new values in a heterogeneous society, each generation of Japanese Americans has had to confront its own challenges. Exploring the relationships among the Issei (first generation), Nisei (second generation), and Sansei (third generation), playwright Philip Kan Gotanda has crafted four powerful dramas. Japanese American family life is at the heart of the plays, from elder traditionalists and Nisei still troubled by the message of the wartime camps, to women seeking new roles and brash youth seizing opportunities in a larger society. The four plays included are “Song for a Nisei Fisherman”, “Fish Head Soup”, “The Wash”, and “Yankee Dawg You Die.” Throughout these dramas, many facets of Japanese American life are revealed as compelling characters interact. Gotanda understands and sensitively depicts the stresses this traditional culture endures, not only in its relation to the heterogeneous society that surrounds it but also among the generations that comprise it. An introduction by Michael Omi, assistant professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, considers the sources of the plays in Gotanda’s personal history.
(A two act play for two males. Bradley Yamashita is one of...)
A two act play for two males. Bradley Yamashita is one of the new breed of Asian-American actors. Highly political and outspoken, he will only take on acting roles that are dignified and unstereotypic. He has recently starred in a small independent film that is the darling of the art crowd, and he arrives in Hollywood full of himself and his politics. Vincent Chang is a survivor. He cut his teeth on the old "Chop Suey" circuit as a hoofer and went on to star in feature films, even garnering an Oscar nomination in the 1950s. Now, though still regal and debonair, Vincent is forced into taking often stereotypic and undignified roles. Through a series of quick-moving scenes, we follow the two men as they meet, form a tenuous friendship and together do battle amidst the often humorous and at times ruthless backdrop of the Hollywood film world. While maintaining the portrayal of integrity as all important, Bradley must face the reality of the same lack of work for Asian actors as Vincent faced in the early days of film. Vincent also teaches Bradley the dignity of survival as he learns to take on more of the cultural responsibility Bradley wishes him to accept.
(By the author of Yankee Dawg You Die, The Wash examines t...)
By the author of Yankee Dawg You Die, The Wash examines the slow and painful death of a marriage after 42 years. Masi Matsumoto has been separated from her husband, Nobu, for more than a year, but she still returns weekly to pick up and deliver his laundry, while Nobu refuses to believe their marriage is over. One daughter hopes for reconciliation; the other estranged from her father since her marriage to a black man, encourages her mother's move towards freedom. Nobu is engaged in a growing friendship with restaurant owner Kiyoko, but when he discovers that Masi has tentatively begun a relationship with another man, Sadao, Nobu's pride is battered, and he becomes reclusive and obstinate. Finally, Masi asks Nobu for a divorce, and at the end of the play, Nobu is alone trying to figure out what his life has become, and how to restore relationships with his daughters.
(In these four new plays, renowned playwright Philip Kan G...)
In these four new plays, renowned playwright Philip Kan Gotanda explores the choices and challenges Japanese American women face. Although set in different decades of the twentieth century, the playsare all absolutely modern in the human struggles they depict. "Sisters Matsumoto" tells of three Japanese American sisters who return to their family farm in Stockton, California, after living in an internment camp during World War II. "The Wind Cries Mary" is a gripping drama set in the tumultuous heyday of social upheaval that was San Francisco in 1968, when California's Asian American intellectuals were first finding a political voice. "Ballad of Yachiyo," set in 1919 in Hawai'i, is a moving story of a girl's coming to sexual maturity after being sent from home to work for an alcoholic artisan and his wife.
Gotanda attended the University of California at Santa Cruz and the University of California at Berkeley. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1974 and holds a law degree from Hastings College of Law.
Gotanda studied pottery in Japan with the late Hiroshi Seto.
Gotanda started his career in the late 60’s and early 70’s with writing and performing songs along with other Third World artist-activist performers, chronicling the emergent Asian American identity. Working with progressive Asian American political and social groups around the country, Gotanda became an active part of the developing 70’s, 80’s, 90’s cultural wave. He has played with music groups: Bamboo with David Henry Hwang, Sam Takemoto and Robert Kikuchi-Yngojo and Joe Ozu and the New Orientals, his retro jazz spoken word performance ensemble with Dan Kuramoto, Danny Yamamoto and Taiji Tamaki.
In the late 70’s Gotanda became active in the Asian American Theater Movement that had recently begun with pioneers such as Frank Chin, Mako, Eric Hayashi, Tisa Chang, Wakako Yamauchi, Soon Tech Oh, Bea Kiyohara, Ernest Abuba, Beulah Kuo and others. Since that time, American theatre is the main focus of his work. Theaters Gotanda has worked with include: Asian American Theater Co., A Contemporary Theater, American Conservatory Theater, Berkeley Rep, Campo Santo+Intersection for the Arts, East West Players, Eureka Theater, Golden Thread in SF, Seattle's Group Theater, Boston's Huntington Theater, L.A. Theater Center, La Mama, Magic Theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, Mark Taper Forum, Missouri Rep, New Federal Theater, New York Shakespeare Festival, Northwest Asian American, Pan Asian Rep, Playwrights Horizons, Robey Theater, San Jose Rep, Seattle Rep, Silk Road Risings, South Coast Rep, Studio Theater, Theater of the Open Eye, Wisdom Bridge among others.
Since 1987, Gotanda also works as an independent filmmaker, whose works have been seen at film festivals around the world. Along with executive producers Dale Minami and Diane Takei, he is currently developing his newest film, Inscrutable Grin, with their production company, Joe Ozu Films.
(In these four new plays, renowned playwright Philip Kan G...)2005
(Like many other immigrants who have come to melting-pot A...)1995
(By the author of Yankee Dawg You Die, The Wash examines t...)1998
(A tender and tragic imagined account of the life of Gotan...)1996
(A two act play for two males. Bradley Yamashita is one of...)1998
Gotanda is a member of the Asian American Musicians Organization.
Gotanda resides at Gotanda Art Plant in the Berkeley Hills with his writer-producer wife, Diane Takei. The couple has no children.