New York | 1h 29m | Already closed

Hold These Truths

From 9 critic and 29 member reviews
Members say: Relevant, Great acting, Intelligent, Absorbing, Great writing

About the show

Hang A Tale Theater Company presents this solo play inspired by the life of a real Japanese American, who fought against US government's efforts to set up internment camps during World War II.  More…

'Hold These Truths' explores a little-known chapter of American history, when civil liberties were under attack, constitutional rights violated, and issues of race hotly debated by a divided country. In Seattle, University of Washington student Gordon Hirabayashi fights the US government’s orders to forcibly remove and mass incarcerate all people of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast. As he struggles to reconcile his country’s betrayal with his passionate belief in the US Constitution, Gordon begins a 50-year journey toward a greater understanding of America’s triumphs, and a confrontation with its failures. Joel de la Fuente stars as Gordon Hirabayashi in this Drama Desk nominated solo performance.


"Joel de la Fuente magnificently portrays Gordon Hirabayashi...His uniformly sharp characterizations are accomplished with ease, precision and depth...Sakata skillfully imparts all of this information and more with dramatic force and occasional humor...Due to its superior writing, arresting visual qualities and Joel de la Fuente’s enthralling presence, 'Hold These Truths' is a searing and highly informative take on its subject." Full Review

Stage Buddy

"A wonderful documentary of an American hero. The work is professionally performed and rendered, which allows for this great American story to be fully told...De la Fuente’s performance is remarkably efficient, buoyant, and specific with some of the best elocution I’ve encountered recently to buttress wonderful storytelling...De la Fuente told the story so clearly...There was never a wasted movement, no act didn’t contribute to the tale...It totally worked." Full Review

The New York Times

“Elegantly directed by Rothe in a top-notch production...A gripping story about a shameful chapter of our history, when the US government looked at its own people and saw the enemy...De la Fuente’s endearing solo performance, which vividly — and, more often than you’d think, comically — renders Gordon and the constellation of people around him. Ms. Sakata’s deeply researched script could come off as preachy, but in De la Fuente’s hands, Gordon is a sweetly steely idealist.” Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

for a previous production "Joel de la Fuente was astonishing in his ability to be all of these individuals. With the slightest shift in his tone of voice, facial expression, and posture he glided effortlessly among this diverse roster...Lisa Rothe oversaw the seamless transition among characters, places, and times, never allowing the story to rest...A sharply written play, an important history lesson and a reflection on the world today. This production certainly fully realized the breadth and depth of the story." Full Review

Indy Week

for a previous production "Sakata’s play is deeply particular—an intimate telling of a heroic story lived by a captivating person...Joel de la Fuente, under the direction of the remarkable Lisa Rothe, fully engages your attention for a fast-moving 85 minutes...It provides a coda to the company's year-long consideration of the many forms of power madness—and the many forms of forgiveness possible, once even the shouting is over." Full Review

Twin Cities Arts Reader

for a previous production "To call de la Fuente’s performance a tour de force would be misleading—although it is surely that. Under the skilled direction of Lisa Rothe, de la Fuente embodies multiple characters as well as Hirabayashi across several decades of his life...The power in de la Fuente’s performance comes from his utter avoidance of any virtuosic, 'show-offy' moments...This play can offer some salve for the weary soul as it portrays the sometimes long, but hopefully inevitable, bend toward justice." Full Review

Urban Excavations

for a previous production "It takes a deft dramatic hand to craft moving theatre out of social history and courtroom drama, and a nuanced actor to portray the passage of time and multiple characters. The Epic Theatre production of Jeanne Sakata‘s 'Hold These Truths' reveals just such deftness of hand and actor nuance...The experience of this piece of theatre is that life story and more — culled to its human and emotional essence, we hold Hirabayashi’s story as we must all 'hold these truths.'" Full Review

Triangle Arts and Entertainment

for a previous production "Onstage, de la Fuente proves chameleon-like, effortlessly and believably going from one character to the next...In fact, once the curtain closes on this lyrically mesmerizing show, it’s hard to believe that only one actor has been onstage the entire time...Making everything possible is Sakata’s lovely, lilting script. She manages to weave a tapestry of experience that is at times funny, at times uplifting, and sometimes, just tremendously sad and shocking." Full Review

Star Tribune

for a previous production "Joel de la Fuente conjures a variety of characters with virtuosic ease under Lisa Rothe’s spare and focused direction...Sakata’s play is not a polemic but rather a multilayered portrait arising from anecdotes, memories, and telling details. The most striking aspect of 'Hold These Truths' is de la Fuente’s portrayal of Hirabayashi as a cheerful warrior...This well-crafted and beautifully acted piece offers not just a glimpse of the past but an extraordinarily relevant message for today." Full Review

Clever, Great acting, Great writing, Great staging, Relevant

See it if If you like great acting and staging where creativity is used fabulously to present a very serious subject that is very relevant today.

Don't see it if MUST SEE!

Absorbing, Great acting, Relevant, Funny

See it if You are interested in history, humor and justice.

Don't see it if You don't like one-person shows, even though this seems like multiple people due to the fine acting.

Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Profound

See it if you are interested in a thought-provoking reflection on the principles that this country is so proud of, but so often failed to uphold

Don't see it if you want light-hearted entertainment that does not touch anything deep

Intelligent, Must see, Relevant, Bravura acting, Elegant storytelling

See it if You enjoy being swept away by a stellar performance telling a specific, yet broadly relevant story. Too relevant today.

Don't see it if You don’t like one-man shows, or you don’t like your theater to have a political core.

Also Gorgeous piece that provokes laughs at the absurdism and tears from th... Read more Read less

Great acting, Great writing, Relevant, Riveting, Intelligent

See it if You value brilliant acting and writing. You believe in the constitution. You want to see how racial hysteria fails us

Don't see it if You voted for Trump. You think a wall is a good idea. You thin the constitution is just a piece of paper

Absorbing, Beautifully acted and written, Relevant, Intelligent, Worthy

See it if you want to be fully engaged in theater thru a mesmerizing performance & meaningful script. Joel is stunningly talented. Just great.

Don't see it if Not interested in history or a thoughtful look at values/ideals. This is a smart, moving, touching play that makes u think. Not heavyhanded.

Also Joel's performance is nuanced, skillful, artful and 100% engaging. Eve... Read more Read less

Must see, Masterful, Great acting, Great writing, Relevant

See it if you like stories based on real events; want to hear the story of an exceptional man that held onto his principles despite the consequences.

Don't see it if you don't like one man shows; not interested in historical events; find it too upsetting to hear about the disgraceful internment of 1940's

Also This show was profoundly moving. The script by Jeanne Sakata was excel... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Intelligent, Intense, Relevant, Riveting

See it if you like to learn more history provided by an exceptional performer. He voices many believable characters and takes you into his world.

Don't see it if you do not want to think or consider that our American government has wronged others unjustly.

Great acting, Intelligent, Must see, Relevant, Resonant

See it if you enjoy beautifully produced, thought-provoking plays about historical events that still have relevance today

Don't see it if you prefer grander productions to more intimate, serious performances

Thought-provoking, Masterful, Great writing, Great acting, Timely

See it if you are interested in American history, the constitution, or one-person shows.

Don't see it if you don't like one-person shows or history.

Thought-provoking, Relevant, Absorbing, Passionate, Inspiring

See it if Powerful writing and acting. Scary how quickly the nation can be overcome by fear and racism, and discard the principles of its founding.

Don't see it if You don't want to immerse yourself in historical injustice. You already know what happened and don't want to see it brought to life.

Relevant, Intelligent, Entertaining

See it if you want to learn more about the history of the Japanese internment camps and those who fought against them.

Don't see it if you don't enjoy one man shows or historical dramas


See it if you reside in the United States.

Don't see it if you are medically incapable of sitting still for 90 minutes.

Great acting, Frighteningly relevant, Relatable, Adorable, Moving

See it if you'd like to see a loving, empathetic portrayal of a man who stood up for his beliefs against racism. Excellent performance and direction.

Don't see it if you're looking for something unique, or need more than one voice. Great execution, but nothing stood out to me as breaking new ground.

Absorbing, Great acting, Profound, Relevant

See it if You love a story--an extraordinary, relevant, profound, beautiful story--well told with all the characters played out before you.

Don't see it if You don't like 1-person shows, you don't like plays that are storytelling, you don't believe in equality and justice.

Also Brilliantly acted and directed, stunningly lit and sound effects are a... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Entertaining, Intelligent, Resonant, Thought-provoking

See it if you want to learn about one man's struggle to make the US recognize his constitutional rights during the WWII internment of Japanese

Don't see it if You don't like being entertained while learning something interesting. This is a terrific show and a strong performance. Go see it.

Illuminating, Engaging, Absorbing, Profound, Relevant

See it if You want to learn about an ordinary American who did an extraordinary thing.

Don't see it if You don't like one-person shows where the actor plays many different characters.

Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Riveting

See it if You are interested in history and want to learn something about a hero who fought against injustice.

Don't see it if You want to believe that everything is fine in America and always has been.

Great acting, Intelligent, Relevant

See it if You like 1 man shows in an intimate settings about Japanes:/American history that’s relevant today

Don't see it if You don’t want to feel depressed about our country’s politics

Relevant, Moving, Well acted, Compelling history, Intelligent

See it if you'd enjoy a riveting lesson abt Japanese internment thru the eyes of the young man who fought the order all the way to the US Sup Court.

Don't see it if you dislike solo shows. But Joel adroitly embodies many characters. Hirabayashi, an American hero, fought for his Constitutional rights.

Also I found HTT deeply moving in these tumultuous times. Hirabayashi's fig... Read more Read less

Great acting, Great writing, Relevant, Intelligent

See it if Enjoy charming intelligent thoughtful and thought provoking performance. Particularly relevant now.

Don't see it if Do not like one man shows

Great acting, Intelligent, Funny, Relevant, Resonant

See it if you are interested in what happened to the Japanese Americans & the likelihood this action may be repeated here soon

Don't see it if you don't like solo shows requiring you to think, you're looking for something with a lot of sets.

Great acting, Absorbing, Interesting, Intelligent, Enlightening

See it if You want to see a one man show which conveys a part of American history dealing with Japanese internment thru actor's expert depictions.

Don't see it if If you want to see an "Allegiance" type of production. This was bare bones play that used wonderful acting and characterizations.

Dense, Great acting, Great writing, Confusing, Thought-provoking

See it if you really want to see Joel De La Fuente be an amazing actor, you want serious theatre that requires a lot of thinking and reflecting

Don't see it if you want production value, you want something easy to digest, you want something slower paced

Delightful, Entertaining, Funny, Great writing, Must see

See it if you LOVE to be entertained. It definitely brings out the child in you.

Don't see it if you are a Scrooge and can't have fun.

Cast & Creatives (4)