scene from an american dream
ON STAGE

An American Dream

Lobero Theatre | Saturday February 18, 2023  2:30pm (just added!) and 7:30pm

2013, Music by Jack Perla; Libretto by Jessica Murphy Moo
Commissioned by Seattle Opera by arrangement with the publisher: Music Without Walls
Sole Agent: Bill Holab Music

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Genre: WWII Drama set in the Pacific Northwest
Running time: 70 minutes
Language: English with surtitles
Venue: Lobero Theatre

Treasured possessions become symbols of their lost homes for two women during World War II: a Japanese American facing incarceration and a German Jewish immigrant preoccupied by those she left behind, in Jack Perla and Jessica Murphy Moo’s 2013 drama.

Synopsis

AMERICA, THE 1940S

March 1942
On a Puget Sound island.

An American veteran, Jim Crowley, and his wife, Eva, a German Jewish refugee, have come to buy a farmhouse. Inside a Japanese-American family has heard that the FBI is arresting people of Japanese descent, and are burning precious Japanese belongings to avoid arrest. The FBI arrives and tells the father Makoto that they found some old dynamite in the shed and he is under arrest. Under pressure Makoto sells the house to Jim for a fraction of its worth. Makoto and his teenage daughter, Setsuko, promise to meet back at the house after the war.

Two months later
As Setsuko and her mother Hiroko are leaving house, the postman delivers a letter. It is from Germany for a woman named Eva. Angry that she is being forced to leave her home, Setsuko steals the letter.

A few weeks later
Jim and Eva move into their new home designating a room for Eva’s parents, who are trying to escape Germany. Eva finds a Hina-Matsuri doll hidden beneath a floorboard, and asks Jim about the previous owners. Jim tells her that they were “Japs”, and to throw away the doll. In spite of Jim’s wishes, Eva decides to keep the doll’s and return it to its owner after the war.

May 1945
Jim and Eva hear on the radio of Germany’s surrender. Eva, who has located the Kobayashi family, writes to Setsuko about the doll.

Later that month
While still incarcerated, Setsuko receives Eva’s letter. She tells her gravely ill mother that it is from her father, telling them that the war is nearly over.

August 1945
Puget Sound.

Jim intercepts a letter from Setsuko. President Truman announces the dropping of the atomic bomb.

September 1945
Setsuko arrives at the home and confronts Jim. When Eva gives Setsuko the doll back, Setsuko gives Eva the old letter from Germany. Eva collapses when she reads in the letter her parents’ fate. While Setsukp finishes reading the letter to her, Makoto arrives at the front door.

(via Seattle Opera)

Tickets

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Location

Lobero Theatre
33 E Canon Perdido St
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Cast & Credits

DIRECTION

Conductor:
Eiki Isomura

Stage Director:
Richard Gammon

Scenic and Projection Design:
Yuki Izumihara

ARTISTS

Setsuko Kobayashi:
Janet Todd

Mama, Hiroko Kobayashi:
Nina Yoshida Nelsen

Eva Crowley:
Audrey Babcock

Jim Crowley:
Ben Lowe

Papa, Makoto Kobayashi:
Paul An

Direction

Artists

SPONSORS

SEASON SPONSOR

Elaine F. Stepanek Foundation

PRODUCTION SPONSOR

Mosher Foundation

SEASON PRODUCTION SPONSORS

Towbes Fund for the Performing Arts
Zegar Family Foundation

CONDUCTOR

Hiroko Benko

ARTIST

Audrey Babcock – Joan Rutkowski
Nina Yoshida Nelsen – Sally & Farrokh Nazerian

STUDENT MATINEE

Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation
John C. Mithun Foundation
Music Performance Trust Fund
Performing Arts Scholarship Foundation

SUPERTITLES

Bella Domani

YOU DECIDE TICKETING

Walter and Holly Thomson Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Co-Trustee

ARTIST HOSTS 

Jared Darlington
Betsy Gallery
Carol V. Greene
Christine and Michael Holland
Colleen Kelly
Lori Meschler
Robert Ramey
Marilyn Zellet

SPECIAL THANKS

National Endowment for the Arts
Santa Barbara-Toba Sister Cities Organization
Santa Barbara Public Library
Takako Wakita

COMMUNITY PARTNERS

Santa Barbara Office of Arts & Culture
Voice Magazine