February 11, 2005
By Kerry Reid
Before the Patriot Act, there was Executive Order 9066. Signed into law by FDR on February 19, 1942, the order forcibly relocated 120,000 Japanese-Americans to internment camps scattered across the western United States. Singapore-born playwright Chay Yew's documentary play Question 27, Question 28 (a reference to the loyalty oath that nisei were required to sign) draws on interviews, diaries, and transcripts of oral history projects to illuminate the life of women in the camps. The piece, specifically designed for concert readings, is presented in commemoration of the 63rd anniversary of EO 9066 by Silk Road Theatre Project, a company dedicated to promoting work by Asian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean playwrights, and is cosponsored by several Japanese-American cultural and civic organizations. This is the second play by Yew to receive a reading from Silk Road—although he has won scads of awards and been produced at venues like the Mark Taper Forum, Manhattan Theatre Club, and London's Royal Court Theatre, most Chicago theaters have been strangely neglectful of his work. Yew will attend the reading and participate in a Q & A afterward.