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Our Town in Topaz with Miranda Cornell (A4 Van Lier Fellow 2020)

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Join A4's 2020 Van Lier Fellow Miranda Cornell as she shares a new theatrical piece featuring a roundtable discussion and Q&A.

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After Executive Order 9066 was enacted in February of 1942, nearly 120,000 people of Japanese descent were forcefully relocated into concentration camps. Over a year later, in the Central Utah "Relocation Center," more commonly known as Topaz, a group of Nisei high school students performed Thorton Wilder's Our Town in the camp dining hall under the direction of their white, Mormon drama teacher. What did the quintessential American play look like in such an un-American (or uber-American) place? How did their own lived experiences of growing up Japanese during the dawning of World War II and incarceration inform how they interacted with the play's themes of community, mortality, and companionship? Was it a transformative experience of resistance or, for some, was it just a school play?

Join A4's 2020 Van Lier Fellow Miranda Cornell as she shares parts of a new theatrical piece based on this true story, featuring a roundtable discussion with other early-career Japanese heritage theater makers asking the question "what makes Our Town ours?"

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