Gotanda’s ‘Sisters Matsumoto’ at Lesher Center for the Arts


Carina Lastimosa, Keiko Shimosato Carreiro and Melissa Locsin play “The Sisters Matsumoto.” (Photo by Alessandra Mello)


WALNUT CREEK — Philip Kan Gotanda’s “Sisters Matsumoto,” directed by Mina Morita, is being presented until April 29 at Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr. in Walnut Creek.

Set in Stockton in 1945, the play tells the story of three Japanese American sisters who return home from the camps and examines what it means to be an American.

The sisters are Grace (Keiko Shimosato Carreiro), Rose (Carina Lastimosa) and Chiz (Melissa Locsin). The cast also includes Tasi Alabastro as Bola, Alexander M. Lydon as Henry Sakai, Colin Thomson as Mr. Hersham, and Ogie Zulueta as Hideo.

Upcoming performances:

Saturday, April 8, at 8 p.m.

Sunday, April 9, at 2:30 p.m.

Wednesday, April 12, at 7:30 p.m.

Thursday and Friday, April 13-14, at 8 p.m.

Saturday, April 15, at 2:30 p.m. (with post-show discussion) and 8 p.m.

Sunday, April 16, at 2:30 p.m.

Wednesday, April 19, at 7:30 p.m. (with post-show discussion)

Thursday and Friday, April 20-21, at 8 p.m.

Saturday, April 22, at 2:30 p.m. (with post-show discussion) and 8 p.m.

Sunday, April 23, at 2:30 p.m.

Wednesday, April 26, at 7:30 p.m.

Thursday and Friday, April 27-28, at 8 p.m.

Saturday, April 29, at 2:30 and 8 p.m.

For more information or to buy tickets, visit www.centerrep.org.


Alexander M. Lydon, Colin Thomson, Tasi Alabastro and Keiko Shimosato Carreiro in a scene from “Sisters Matsumoto.” (Photo by Alessandra Mello)


“This play was inspired by several sources,” said Gotanda. “The main inspiration is my mother’s life that mirrors closely the return of the Matsumoto sisters to their rural home in Stockton, Calif. This, after being incarcerated for two years in one of America’s World War II relocation camps. It also draws inspiration from Chekov’s works as well as a movie by Kon Ichikawa, ‘The Makioka Sisters,’ based on a novel by Junichiro Tanizaki.

“In my own work I have always been drawn to the small intimacies we must negotiate in our daily lives. Not necessarily the big spectacle or the large heroic act but those everyday braveries and failures that cumulatively define a life lived. ‘The Sisters Matsumoto’ is one such work.”

Gotanda’s plays include “The Wash,” “The Dream of Kitamura,” “Yankee Dawg You Die,” “Fish Head Soup,” “Ballad of Yachiyo,” “Fist of Roses,” “After the War,” “Yohen,” “I Dream of Chang and Eng,” and “Love in American Times.” A Japanese translation of “Sisters Matsumoto” was performed in Tokyo by the Mingei Gekidan Company.


Director Mina Morita with a model of the “Sisters Matsumoto” set.


“Last February, Artistic Director Michael Butler invited me to direct Philip Kan Gotanda’s beautifully wrought narrative that ce