Three vital companies—Mixed Blood Theatre, Mu Performing Arts, and Stages Theatre Company—have thrown in together for Baseball Saved Us, a children’s play about the internment of Japanese Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Katie Hae Ryun Leo’s script, based on Ken Mochizuki’s book, is slight. That’s not really a problem, because it’s also fairly short and the pace is brisk.
|baseball saved us, a play written by katie hae ryun leo. a production by stages theatre company and mu performing arts presented through april 4 at mixed blood theatre, 1501 s. 4th st., minneapolis. or tickets ($15) and information, see mixedblood.com.|
Stages artistic director Sandy Boren-Barret and Mu artistic director Rick Shiomi direct a capable ensemble of ten on Joe Stanley’s ingenious set—but don’t look for a world of dramatic value: it’s not there. Stages productions generally emphasize educational value and, accordingly, Baseball Saved Us principally is meant to educate kids who don’t know a great deal about World War II, Pearl Harbor, or the racism that was behind the internment camps (there weren’t any for German-Americans). Hence, we have an instructive tale in which a 10-year-old fan of baseball and the Green Lantern symbolizes fortitude and community spirit in the face of bigoted cruelty.
Reviewing children’s theater can be tricky, especially when it comes to critiquing young actors. If you pan them, you seem like a mean person. Fortunately, little Andrew Moy, in the lead role of Tad, takes that prospect out of the equation. He’s an energetic, very charming youngster who makes the tough job of acting look easy. He’s also quite poised off-stage: right after the performance, he was signing autographs in the lobby like a polished pro.
If you know a youngster you’d like to put in the know, you can do a lot worse than this warm-hearted history lesson.
Dwight Hobbes is a writer based in the Twin Cities. He contributes regularly to the Daily Planet.
Correction 3/24: This article originally referred to “Adam Foy” rather than Andrew Moy, the correct name for the actor.