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

  • 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.
  • 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
    ,
    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

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