The Seattle Historical Theatre Project is pleased to announce upcoming tour details for the first live production of “Friends Across the Wires,” an original play exploring the impact of the WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans on young people in Seattle.
The play follows best friends Kiyoko and Peggy, students at Seattle’s Broadway High School, from the bombing of Pearl Harbor through the end of Kiyoko’s incarceration at Minidoka. Extensively researched and built from personal interviews, primary sources and other historical material, the play is designed to teach about the incarceration while examining themes of friendship, injustice and resilience.
Advertising posters for “Friends Across the Wires.”
above: “Peggy” (Patsy Love). bottom: “Kiyoko” (Louise Kashino). Artwork: Marie Johnston
Generously funded by 4Culture Arts and Heritage and Kip Tokuda Memorial Washington Civil Liberties Public Education Program grants, SHTP is able to bring this production free-of-charge to schools, libraries, and other community organizations. The tour will include several public performances, including an opening night performance on Friday, March 17th, at Seattle’s Broadway Performance Hall, and a final performance at the Vashon Center for the Arts on April 18th.
Playwright and director, Laura Ferri, is an award winning, professional theatre artist. She is a founding member of Book-It Repertory Theatre. She has twice received the “Seattle Times” Footlight Best Production award.
NAP readers will be especially interested to learn that “Friends Across the Wires” is based on the life story of Seattle Nisei Louise Kashino, who was interviewed multiple times to write the play. According to daughter Debbie Kashino, the friendship described in the play spanned from high school until her death.
“My mom’s friend Patsy Love visited her in Puyallup and continued to write and send packages to Minidoka.
“They remained friends until they died. Patsy was to speak at my mom’s memorial service but the day before called to tell us she was not feeling well. Tamara Bunnell (the play’s producer) read Patsy’s speech for her. Patsy died a couple weeks later.
“‘The Seattle Times’ did an article about their friendship years ago. The article is dated May 5, 2002.
“Patsy told us she spoke to my mom only a week before my mom died.”
A detailed performance schedule is listed in the Calendar. Some shows will be followed by a panel discussion.
The venue of the opening performance, Broadway Performance Hall, is significant in that it was a part of Broadway High School, where the girls were classmates, before WWII. They first met as children at Cascade School (later closed after damage by the 1949 Seattle earthquake; near the present location of REI; historylink.org/file/10478).
The Seattle Historical Theater Project creates original theatre pieces drawn from oral histories and primary sources.