CATS: Arts & Culture beyond Theater, on Oct. 14 with sake tasting

THOUGH KNOWN FOR ITS EXCEPTIONAL theatrical productions, CATS (or Community Asian Theatre of the Sierra) has offered cultural enrichment programs since the late 1990s.

The programs consist of workshops, excursions, classes, concerts, readings, films, lectures and storytelling—in the foothills and throughout Northern California. CATS invites you to participate in their summer and fall programs.

Expanding on this spring’s production of The Teahouse of the August Moon, CATS’ cultural repertoire for this year largely has been Japanese-themed.

CATS recently visited the Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Colony in Gold Hill and learned the plight of the first Japanese inhabitants to North America, along with plans of the America River Conservancy to preserve their legacy.

On July 28, participants can immerse their senses in the meditative process of enjoying “peace in a bowl of tea,” where trained Tea Master Soju Ward will guide them through a Japanese tea ceremony at an authentic teahouse and garden in Penryn. Space is limited.

The month of August is considered “Halloween” in Japan. What better way to learn about Japanese Halloween than to spend an afternoon listening to truer-than-life ghost stories by Brenda Wong Aoki. Brenda is a three-time National Endowment of the Arts Theatre Fellow.

Her “monodramas” will be presented on August 26, at 2 p.m. at the Nevada Theatre in Nevada City. Come and let Brenda stoke your senses!

On September 23, CATS will present two films about Japanese-American history through the prism of the game of baseball. Diamonds in the Rough is a short documentary about the legacy of Japanese-American baseball. American Pastime is a fiction-tale of internment and survival and how baseball became a metaphor for life itself.

You can meet Kerry Yo Nakagawa, associate producer, and learn about his commitment to bridge the gap of humanity by using this all-American pastime.

On October 14, you can try your hand at making sushi and tour the state-of-the-art Gekkeikan Sake Brewery in Folsom, where the brewery has thousands of years of history rooted in Japan. Leave the driving to CATS, which will charter a bus for this enjoyable outing.

For information and tickets, visit catsweb.org, call 530-265-2990 or email info@catsweb.org.

(photo credit: American Pastime; by Matthew Williams/Warner Bros./Shadowcatcher Entertainment)

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