History comes alive in these theater programs. The audience interacts with a living personage who provides an eyewitness account of historical events. These characters will retell their life stories and engage audiences in a rich portrait of Chinese American experiences. Each program is in the traditional Chautauquan format, an actor gives a monologue of a character, takes questions from the audience and later steps out of character giving a background of which the program was created. Charlie Chin, storyteller extraordinaire performs these characters with gusto, a high level of creativity, and that our audiences come back every year to see them!
A character based on oral histories and written accounts will retell life stories containing different themes of Chinese American history. These 40-60 minute programs are geared towards State Standards of local history, California State history and US History. Descriptions of programs below. Recommended for 4th graders and above.
This theater piece will illuminate the impact of American Democracy in shaping Dr. Sun’s ideals as a Revolutionary Leader in China. This project features how Dr. Sun fueled the Chinese American communities in supporting political activities in China during the Chinese Exclusion Era in the United States. Download the supplemental curriculum guide. Recommended for high school students.
Dr. Yee, California Pioneer
Dr. Yee Fung Cheung immigrated from China to the United States in 1850. Like so many others, he came to California during the Gold Rush. This program chronicles Dr. Yee’s life story of coming to the United States, working in the gold mines, and becoming a Chinese herbalist. Dr. Yee also shares his reaction towards the passing of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.
Hugh Liang: Eyewitness to the 1906 Earthquake and Fire
Born in San Francisco Chinatown, Hugh Kwong Liang (1891-1984) experienced Chinatown’s survival through the 1906 Earthquake and Fire. Fifteen year old Hugh woke up abruptly at 5:13 AM on April 18, 1906 as pieces of plaster and wood fell from the ceiling in the back room of his family’s grocery store. As an adult, his singing career accomplishments included a long run on the vaudeville circuit with the Chung Wah Quartet. Meet Hugh as he recounts his dramatic experiences.
I Want to Go to School: The Case of Tape vs. Hurley
In 1885 Mamie Tape’s parents wanted their 8 year old daughter to attend Spring Valley Primary School in San Francisco. When school Principal Jennie Hurley denied the child admission because Mamie was Chinese, the Tape family sued Jennie Hurley and the San Francisco School District. The case Tape vs. Hurley became one of the most important civil rights decisions in American history. Download Mamie Tape Curriculum Guide for pre and post-visit lessons.
Uncle Toisan is a fictitious character who’s a composite of several Chinese immigrants from the Guangdong Province, Toisan district of China. He retells his life story as an immigrant coming to the United States during the Exclusion Era as a paper son. He traces his experiences from China, Angel Island Immigration Station, and WWII. Filled with historic facts and humor, his anecdotes will take you back to the early 20th c. through the present. Supplemental curriculum guide available.