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

  • Kate Danley:
    11 Jul. 2019
    Beautiful prose and rhythms, rich with imagery, and filled with powerful ideas that will leave you thinking long after the play is done.
  • National Queer Theater:
    28 Oct. 2018
    Sam's writing is pure magic. Tackling a difficult subject, he breaks apart his prose with a unique brand of magical realism, weaving Japanese anime into a queer take on the Japanese-American experience in WWII. Take note, Sam Hamashima is a young playwright to watch! We produced a reading of American Spies last month and our audience went crazy for Sam's words and nonstop creativity.

Character Information

  • NATSUKO
    30s-50s,
    Japanese American
    ,
    Cis female
    Mother. Japanese American. Issei. Strong Willed.
  • TAMIHEI
    30s-50s,
    Japanese American
    ,
    Cis male
    Father. Japanese American. Issei. Cold to protect.
  • GEORGE
    12-15,
    Japanese American
    ,
    Cis 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
    ,
    Cis female
    Neighbor. Japanese American. Issei. Somewhat Sardonic. Lovable.
  • DIANE / THE IMPERSONATOR
    30s-50s,
    White
    ,
    Cis female
    Caucasian. A "soft" racist. Comedic / A monster clumsily disguised as a human.
  • THE OFFICER
    30s-50s,
    White
    ,
    Cis male
    Caucasian. Looking for Clues. Comedic.
  • THE BUZZARDS
    timeless,
    American
    ,
    Unknown
    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