5th Ave. Educational Tour: Adventure Musical Theater
I have been meaning to write about my AMT experience for a while now.
What an amazing experience this show has been so far. This is by far one of the most rewarding experiences in performing that I have been through. We have nearly done 120 performances of the show already! I am so honored to be able to work and perform so frequently with my cast members, as well as my tour manager and the rest of the education department at 5th Avenue Theatre.
Going into this project, I was drawn to this story of Japanese-Americans during WWII. Being a Japanese-American who had grown up living back and forth between the States and Japan, this story holds a special place in my heart. I myself had not known about the interment of Japanese-Americans until I had moved to the PNW. The historical facts behind the events that unraveled here on the West Coast after Pearl Harbor still seem inconceivable. Being able to represent my own ethnicity, as well as these events that often go untold has increasingly become more meaningful to me.
One of the most rewarding things that happen regularly is during the after-show talk-back when students ask questions such as "Did this really happen?" "Why did this happen?" or "So they just took their stuff?" Especially with the increasing national tensions regarding racial discrimination and social justice, it is so important that kids are able to ask these questions. It is a testament to the power of communication through theater that they are able to ask these questions with this show.
Another thing that happens less regularly is hearing stories and comments from those who had lived during the time of Japanese-American internment. Some of these people had been in the interment camps themselves. The history of Japanese-American interment is rarely told outside textbooks. Being able to tell the story of this injustice in such a visceral way to a younger audience becomes meaningful to those who lived through and around the injustice. I believe that it's because they are able to see what has come out of their own struggle, and how it is shaping new generations to become more accepting people.
After this next month of shows, the run will be over, and my cast and this experience will be missed greatly!