The Heart No Longer Silent (play)
Creators: Megumi, Elaine Sayoko Yoneoka
Storytelling performance with digital imagery by storyteller Megumi and artist Elaine Sayoko Yoneoka. Funded by the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program , The Heart No Longer Silent: Stories with Images from the Japanese American Internment of World War II was performed several times in Central and Northern California in 2002.
The protagonist of the 45-minute program is a sixteen-year-old Japanese American girl named Linda. After the 9/11 attacks and the death of her grandmother, Linda feels compelled to learn more about her family's wartime incarceration story. With her mother unwilling to revisit that history, Linda turns to two Nisei relatives—Uncle Lucky, her grandmother's brother and a veteran of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and Auntie Cookie, her grandmother's sister—as well as a man named George "Fats" Tanaka, a friend of her grandmother's. She later visits the site of the Tule Lake camp, Megumi plays all of the roles, while Yoneoka designed the projected images, sounds, and a virtual reality simulation of Tule Lake.
Storyteller Grace "Megumi" Fleming was born in Illinois to a white American missionary father and Japanese mother. Raised mostly in Japan until age ten, the family then moved to Turlock, California. After graduating with an M.S. in clinical psychology and working as a therapist for ten years, she became a professional storyteller in 1995. In 1997, she debuted a performance based on the Japanese American wartime incarceration, Japanese American Detention Camps: Stories of Strength and Hope . Among artist Elaine Sayoko Yoneoka's prior work was an installation titled "Forgotten/I Can't Forget" (2000), built around a re-creation of a concentration camp barrack.
The Heart No Longer Silent was performed at several venues in 2002, each time followed by a 45-minute question and answer exchange with Japanese American former inmates.
April 25, 2002, California State University Fresno Satellite Theater
April 30, Fresno City College Theatre
May 1, Hanford High School
May 2, Wawona Middle School, Fresno
May 3, College of the Sequoias Theatre, Visalia