I had the opportunity to see an amazing play at the East West Players this past Saturday. East West Players is a nationally known theater which features API actors and theater projects. EWP brought back a popular play for it's second year. It has received much accolades from the press as well as theater-goers.
It's based on the true story about Soichi Sakamoto who trained underserved youth of Maui to become Olympic champions in 1937. The story is told through Hula and rhythm and this story about underdogs overcoming obstacles has inspired me.
The set design was done smart. Using thin bamboo tied together as a screen, projections were able to set the mood of each scene.
The story line also has the arching story of WWII, adding to the tension to the main protagonist who is Japanese. With pressure from his wife/household, the over looming terror of war and the dreams of his students laying squarely on his shoulders, Sakemoto is spread thin and does his best to keep his seams together.
The whole play is spoken in Hawaiian Pidgin English. Listening to the play reminded me of my Grandmother and my family in Hawaii. The actors did a wonderful job committing to their characters, bringing history to life on stage.
This play is a wonderful way to bring Olympian history to life. In a realm where Asians and Pacific Islanders are rarely put to light, Three Year Swim Club reminds us of a time when there were Asian athletes proudly representing America.
From nothing, they rose. And it all came from a man who thought outside of a box mixed with undying faith, that catapulted these young swimmers into heros of their own town and soon the nation.
Purchase your tickets online here.or call Box Office at (213) 625-7000 x20.
Director & Choreographer Keo Woolford Talks About THREE YEAR SWIM CLUB
** all pictures courtesy of East West Players.