Hold These Truths, a timely and thought-provoking tale of political expediency, racism and resilience, is captivating audiences in the Ellyn Bye Studio of Portland Center Stage at the Armory.

The play, written by Jeanne Sakata, was inspired by the life of civil rights activist Gordon Hirabayashi, a Seattle native who was posthumously awarded the 2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Not long after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Hirabayashi, a Japanese-American, took a very strong stand against the U.S. Government’s orders to forcibly remove and incarcerate all people of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast.


Gordon Hirabayashi when he was a student at the University of Washington.

Hold These Truths highlights Hirabayshi’s struggle to reconcile his country’s betrayal with his passionate belief in the U.S. Constitution.


Actor Ryun Yu, as Gordon Hirabayashi in the PCS Production of “Hold These Truths.” Photo by Patrick Weishampel.

Ryan Yu, an Asian-American actor, who originated the role in Los Angeles in 2007, delivers a dynamic and emotional one-person performance for the ages, despite the fact that he wasn’t yet born when Hirabayashi was bravely fighting his very unpopular fight.

We had an opportunity to sit down with the Los Angeles-based Yu to talk about the play, how he relates to the role, and why he thinks Portland is a pretty cool place. 

And here’s a video, which includes excerpts from our interview and footage of Yu’s extraordinary performance:

Hold These Truths runs through November 13, 2016. For tickets, visit the website of Portland Center Stage at the Armory.




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