WLAIC to present 'Good Citizen'
The West Linn Alliance for Inclusive Community will present a staged reading of "Good Citizen," a play by George Taylor, at 7 p.m. May 6 at West Linn Lutheran Church, 20390 Willamette Drive in West Linn. The reading will be directed by Heath Hyun Houghton, and is free and open to all.
"Good Citizen" taps into the darker currents of Oregon's history of the 1940s. One cold night in March a young Japanese-American walks the streets of Portland trying to get arrested.
"Run along home, sonny boy, before you get into trouble," says a cop on the beat. This is exactly what the young attorney wants. He flashes some papers at the police station and is thrown into the drunk tank.
The year is 1942. The man is Minoru Yasui, and he's out to test the constitutionality of a miliary curfew imposed on all people of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast.
"Good Citizen" is a local story that resonates with contemporary citizenship and civil rights struggles. Director Houghton describes the work as exploring "questions about what it means to be a citizen, and how that definition changes between individuals, populations and communities."
According to Houghton the play investigates "how we need to constantly and rigorously explore, redefine and defend our relationship with our identity as citizens."
Taylor says the play is even more timely today than when is was first produced in 2010, "because it shows how easy it is to slip into demagoguery." In his view "we think we have put things behind us, but we see the same things happening today with regard to prejudice and immigration issues. This is an Oregon story."
"Good Citizen" was one of three finalists in Artists Repertory Theatre's 2016 Oregon Play Prize and was short-listed for the Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference. Taylor is a three-time finalist for the Oregon Book Awards and was a semifinalist for the Fratti-Newman Political Play competition in New York.
The cast includes Scott Sakatmoto, Brett Wilson, Soren Gillaspy, Thien Kim Bui, Cynthia Shur Petts, Robin Woolman, Jenna Yokoyama and Sumi Wu. A moderated discussion will follow after the performance.