Published July 20, 2018 on Gilroy Life website

Joel de la Fuente stars in TheatreWorks Silicon Valley’s 2018/2019 season opener, the regional premiere of Jeanne Sakata’s “Hold These Truths.” Inspired by the life of Gordon Hirabayashi, “Hold These Truths,” directed by Lisa Rothe, plays July 11-Aug. 5 at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto.
Photo credit: Kevin Berne

TheatreWorks in Palo Alto starts its 49th season with a breathtaking look back to a time that should have never existed and comes too close to what is existing today. It’s a terrifying drama!

“Hold These Truths” tells the true story about Japanese-American Gordon Hirabayashi’s fight to hold to his belief in his civil rights and the constitution, taking his belief all the way to the United States Supreme Court. He lost his case because the government rigged the case. Forty years later the verdict was reversed. Gordon died in 2012 at age 93, just before President Obama awarded him The Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

Seventy-four years ago, right after the Pearl Harbor attack, President Franklin Roosevelt signed an Executive Order 9006 that forced all Japanese-Americans citizens on the West Coast to be moved to relocation centers, taking only what they could carry and selling their property and belongings in just a few days. Hirabayashi was the son of a farmer who was swept up in this nightmare. The young man was going to University of Washington in Seattle at the time and decided he would not conform.

Joel de la Fuente brilliantly portrays Gordon Hirabayashi and all the other characters that make up the story with three chairs and a suitcase. Fuente seems to slide into each of his characters with a change of voice, a sigh, a grunt or a body movement that takes you where he wants you to go. His performance is intense flawless perfection.

A TheatreWorks favorite playwright Jeanne Sakata touches the depth of the situation without pulling any punches. The play is so real it was at times hard to accept what I knew was true. Lisa Rothe directs with a brisk hand that keeps attention.

“Hold These Truths” comes at a time where our country is wrestling with constitutional tests. Have we learned anything with the passing of time?

Go spend a little under 100 minutes, experience the finest acting – while beautifully telling the true story of a true hero and a time we should take a close look at, and wonder, how far have we come?



What: TheatreWorks play: “Hold These Truths”

Where: Lucie Stern Theatre, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto

Through: Aug.5

Running time: 1 hours 50 minutes – no intermission

Tickets: $40 – $100

For Reservations and information call: (650) 463-1960 or visit



Camille Bounds

Camille Bounds

Theater Columnist at Gilroy Life
Camille Bounds is the theater columnist for the Morgan Hill Life and Gilroy LIfe newspapers. She has performed on Broadway and traveled around the world. She can be reached at: bounds17@gmail,com
Camille Bounds