AMERICAN SPIES AND OTHER HOMEGROWN FABLES

News travels across the Pacific on Dec. 7 resulting in foolhardy claims of Japanese sympathizers. As calls for war perpetrate a nation, The Ishii Family undertakes radical assimilation to calm the local police and fearful neighbors. Mixing family testimony and cartoon charm, the Japanese Americans’ response to national disaster develops into a sparkling fable on what it means to be family.
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AMERICAN SPIES AND OTHER HOMEGROWN FABLES

Recommended by

  • Noah Ezell:
    19 May. 2020
    Uniquely specific, rhythmic, supernatural, endearing, and heartbreaking, “American Spies and Other Homegrown Fables” examines the harrowing reality of the forced assimilation of Japanese Americans and the conflicting desire to connect with ones roots. Utilizing complex and varied storytelling modes, Hamashima seamlessly integrates past and present, realism and non-realism, prose and poetry, mundane and supramundane to create a world that, though transcending time, still holds white America accountable for its racist and malignant history. Ultimately, though, “American Spies…” speaks powerfully to the nature of family, protection, and carrying on in a deeply engaging and multifaceted manner. I highly recommend this play.
  • Doug DeVita:
    4 May. 2020
    A truly magical work, stunning in its breadth and intimacy, inventive in its use of language, and filled with dazzling imagery – a theatrical work in every sense of the word. Beautiful, haunting, provocative, and as I said before, truly magical. I'd love to see it staged.
  • Nick Malakhow:
    16 Dec. 2019
    I loved the clear, unique, and specific theatrical world Sam Hamashima created. George is a compelling, charming, and believable character who we rally around, and all of the other (human and non-human) characters are fleshed out and have impactful arcs as well. In looking at this individual family, Hamashima effectively illuminates broader historical and social truths to great effect. "American Spies..." pairs humor alongside poignant moments of realism, fantasy, and lyrical poetry. It would be a delight to see this staged, as it is definitely a play that truly reads like a theatrical event.

Character Information

  • NATSUKO
    30s-50s,
    Japanese American
    ,
    Cisgender Female
    Mother. Japanese American. Issei. Strong Willed.
  • TAMIHEI
    30s-50s,
    Japanese American
    ,
    Cisgender Male
    Father. Japanese American. Issei. Cold to protect.
  • GEORGE
    12-15,
    Japanese American
    ,
    Cisgender Male
    Son. Japanese American. Nissei. Awkward Teen.
  • PAPER CRANE
    timeless,
    Japanese American
    ,
    Any
    Spirit of Wisdom. Japanese American. Bookish. She's the girl in class that talks to herself and loves horses. Japanese American.
  • MANEKI NEKO
    timeless,
    Japanese American
    ,
    Any
    Spirit of Luck. Japanese American. Definitely asks if she can copy your homework. Feisty and fun.
  • MISS NAKAYAMA
    40s-60s,
    Japanese American
    ,
    Cisgender Female
    Neighbor. Japanese American. Issei. Somewhat Sardonic. Lovable.
  • DIANE / THE IMPERSONATOR
    30s-50s,
    White
    ,
    Cisgender Female
    Caucasian. A "soft" racist. Comedic / A monster clumsily disguised as a human.
  • THE OFFICER
    30s-50s,
    White
    ,
    Cisgender Male
    Caucasian. Looking for Clues. Comedic.
  • THE BUZZARDS
    timeless,
    American
    ,
    No gender
    Hungry. Prejudice. Parasitic. Spoopy (at times).

Development History

Production History

  • Professional
    ,
    The Hub Theatre
    ,
    2019
  • Workshop
    ,
    University of Michigan, EXCEL
    ,
    2018

Awards

Hopwood Drama Award
,
University of Michigan, Hopwoods
,
2018
Dennis McIntyre Award for Distinction in Playwriting
,
University of Michigan, Hopwood Awards Program
,
2018