E.O. 9066 (play)

Play that tells the story of one family's wartime incarceration through puppets made out of ordinary objects. Performed by the San Francisco Bay area based "object theatre company" Lunatique Fantastique, which was founded by Liebe Wetzel, E.O. 9066 tells its story nearly silently, with objects such a tea set, table cloth, and old suitcase brought to life by company members, dubbed "manipulators." Debuting in 2003, the show was performed at several venues in the Bay Area over the next few years as well as in Utah in 2005 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Topaz, where the play is set.[1]

E.O. 9066 has its origins with Wetzel's close friend and fellow puppeteer, Donna Nomura Dobkin, whose parents had been incarcerated in Topaz and who were married there. After Dobkins' untimely death in 2001, Wetzel was inspired to do a show in memory of her friend. The sixty-minute piece was based on thirty-five interviews, along with information from written sources.[2]

The play tells the story of a family that includes a mother and two boys, with a Japanese teapot becoming the mother's head and two tea cups and napkins becoming her sons. Through objects animated by six black-clad performers, the story of the family's forced removal, incarceration at Topaz, and enlistment of one son in the army is portrayed, as well as the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's signing of Executive Order 9066, and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The Nomura family lent the production aluminum plates they used at Topaz, which are used to represent FDR's wheelchair in the play.[3]

After premiering in May of 2003 at DIVAfest at the EXIT Theater in San Francisco, the play has been revived several times between 2005 and 2009 including runs at the Marsh Berkeley Theater in 2005 and the Marsh San Francisco Mainstage Theater in 2009. The 2009 revival included a new musical score by Shinji Eshima.[4]

Authored by Brian Niiya, Densho

Related Articles


For More Information

Lunatique Fantastique website: http://www.lunfan.com/shows/2003/2003_eo9066.html.

Bullock, Ken. "Found Object Puppets Tell Tale of Internment Camps." Berkeley Daily Planet, Oct. 4, 2005.

Footnotes

  1. Lunatique Fantastique website, accessed on June 21, 2013 at http://www.lunfan.com/shows/2003/2003_eo9066.html; Laura Hancock, "Drama Brings Life to Topaz Memories." Deseret Morning News, June 11, 2005, accessed on June 21, 2013 at http://www.deseretnews.com/article/600140696/Drama-brings-life-to-Topaz-memories.html?pg=all.
  2. "Unique Is Fantastique: Puppet Play Creatively Brings JA Experience to Light", accessed on June 21, 2013 at http://www.kori-kai.com/writing_editing/puppet_play.php; Celia R. Baker, "Pouring Out Topaz Memories," The Salt Lake Tribune, June 5, 2005, accessed on June 21, 2013 at http://archive.sltrib.com/printfriendly.php?id=2779916&itype=NGPSID.
  3. Ken Bullock, "Found Object Puppets Tell Tale of Internment Camps," Berkeley Daily Planet, Oct. 4, 2005, accessed on June 21, 2013 at http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2005-10-04/article/22457; "Unique Is Fantastique"; Baker, "Pouring Out."
  4. Lunatique Fantastique website; Bullock, "Found Object Puppets"; Michael Leaverton, "Master of Puppets," San Francisco Weekly, March 11, 2009, accessed on June 21, 2013 at http://www.sfweekly.com/2009-03-11/calendar/master-of-puppets/full/.