Kumu Kahau Theatre will present the world premiere of ALL THAT REMAINS, a story of loyalty and betrayal told by ghost soldiers from the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat team who return just one night to a forest in France to recreate a single act of violence that torments both the living and the dead. Using an experimental style drawing from Japanese Noh theatre, ALL THAT REMAINS offers a challenging, provocative look at the heroism and despair of war.
ALL THAT REMAINS was conceived 19 years ago by playwright Mona Z. Smith and director Traci Mariano. Though this play is a work of fiction, it is inspired by the real and harrowing stories of the men of the 100th and 442nd. Over the years, the two women conducted research in archives and museums across the U.S. and in 2011 they were invited to present a reading of the script and a discussion program at the Japanese American Museum in Los Angeles which was attended by WWII veterans as well as many families who spent the war in relocation camps.
"Five of my uncles served in World War II, including three who were brothers," says playwright Mona Z. Smith. "These men rarely spoke about their wartime experiences and we children were discouraged from asking questions. But I was always curious about their war. When I was in my 20s, I lived and worked in Europe, and I visited several battlefields to better understand my uncles and that period of history. One day, on a mountain in France near the village of Bruyères, I hiked through a dark, eerie forest in a dense fog and I literally stumbled upon a monument to the Japanese American soldiers of the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team soldiers. Standing in that forest, staring at the stone, I started thinking about the issues these men surely must have faced. I took some photographs and made some notes. That was the start of the journey for me. Soon afterwards, I went to graduate school in New York City, and that's where I met Traci. I showed her my photos of the forest and some fragments of text written by soldiers of the 100th and 442nd about their experiences ? words that were as beautiful as they were provocative. We decided to collaborate on this project. Before we created a work of fiction, we wanted to discover as many facts as possible about the men of the 100th and 442nd. Research materials were hard to find at first ? this was long before the Internet! But I had started my writing career as a newspaper reporter and had learned to be persistent -- and Traci is just plain stubborn by nature! We spent 19 years collecting copies of letters, journals, articles, interviews and images. Then we used these materials to help us create a fictional story about seven men whose loyalty, patriotism, friendship, and humanity are tested in a time of war."
Workshops with the Playwright and Director, in schools in neighborhoods of Pearl City, Wainai and Kapolei, supported by Hawai'i Electric Industries Charitable Foundation and Hawaiian Electric Company, are currently being developed.
"We are at the very beginning of our warrior play, our military drama, our soldier's story: the lies, the hatred, the betrayal."
With an MFA in Theatre Mona Z. Smith has studied with director Andrei Serban and playwright Romulus Linney. She has been awarded the John Golden Award, the national Berilla Kerr Prize and her play, Borderlands, was a finalist in the national DramaRama competition in San Francisco and produced in NY, CA, and VA. She has written and adapted more than a dozen short plays for national educational magazines. As an Arts Administrator, she worked for several non-profit organizations in New York including the Pearl Theatre in Manhattan. Her play, Becoming Something, led to the writing of a book, "Becoming Something: The Story of Canada Lee" and was published in 2004.
All That Remains marks Traci Mariano's fourth collaboration with Mona Z. Smith. Traci directed the premiere of Smith's play Becoming Something at the Kraine Theater, NYC; Borderlands at Soho Rep, NYC; and a production of Smith's Fire in a Dark House for Columbia University. She has directed many new plays including Christopher Kyle's Boca, Berlin, This Blessed Knot and the American Living Room Festival (NYC) premieres of La Stigmata and Rachel. Traci has also directed Mr. Kyle's adaptations of Hamlet and The Changeling, as well as his translation of Bertolt Brecht's Baal. Traci was a Drama League Directing Fellow and directed Wallace Shawn's Summer Evening for the Drama League at Circle Rep's Lab. While with the Drama League, Traci served as assistant director to Marcus Stern on The Treatment at the New York Shakespeare Festival and to Robert Falls on The Night of the Iguana at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. In New York, Traci's work has been seen at the Village Gate, the Shakespeare Festival (NYU Dramatic Writing Program), Primary Stages, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Lambs Theatre and the Westbank Downstairs Theatre Bar. Regionally, her directing work has been seen at the Bailiwick Repertory Theatre in Chicago, Capital Playhouse in Olympia, Washington and Summer Stage Repertory in Terre Haute, Indiana. Traci has a B.A. in Theatre from Indiana State University and an M.F.A. in Directing from the Columbia University. Traci is currently working on a pro bono basis to design and teach innovative theatre curriculum in a public school in Los Angeles. She also works as a script consultant and runs a Production Company with her husband, Michael, a television writer and director.