Electronically Serving Monterey Park, Alhambra, San Gabriel, & Rosemead

English Only

English only

Annette Lee and Monterey Park City Councilmember Mitch Ing joined with the cast and residents on February 26 to hear the play in the place where it all began – Monterey Park City Hall.

Councilmember Ing welcomed all to this play, which impressed him. He introduced Mayor Pro Tem David Lau, former Councilmember Pat Reichenberger and Nancy Arcuri, wife of Frank Arcuri to the audience.

Annette Lee, a graduate of Alhambra High School in the Class of 1984, wrote this play from the eyes of a 17-year-old high school student. This play was part of her PhD. thesis at UCLA.

Ms. Lee set her play in the 1980’s; English Only is based on true events in the city of Monterey Park and its battle over English as its official language.

Scarlet Wong, a 17-year-old, is trying to lead the All-American teenage life but her new neighbors who don’t speak English are making it tough. She and her friends discuss the their lives as teenagers in that era. Several scenes are set at Alhambra High School, City Hall and her High School Prom.

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The cast: Jeison Azali, Matthew Black, Nancy Brennan, Ewan Chung, Perry Daniel, Jenny Kang, Frank Pepito, Michelle Rios, Ken Seeraty and Bill Wolski read several parts of the play in character.

Ms. Lee said she researched English Only in old newspaper articles to validate the events of the day.

Her play was done in the mode of a China Opera. She mixed reality with cartoon characters. She introduced Laura Scudder, a local businesswoman who packaged her potato chips in waxed bags. Councilmembers Barry Hatch, Pat Reichenberger and Chris Houseman, Activist Frank Arcuri and State Senator S.I. Hayakawa who worked for “Official English” and Fred Hsieh from Mandarin Realty who sold Monterey Park as the Chinese Beverly Hills in Taiwan and Hong Kong were featured in the play. Her dreams included Chairman Mao and General Chiang Kai-shek. She spoke about the way the American born Chinese teens taunted the new Asian immigrant teens.

Ms. Lee stated that these issues are still relevant at this time in America. Language communication is very important. We come together with language and culture. She tried to get everyone views into this play and used factual information.

The play did a very good job in capturing the major emotions of those days in Monterey Park’s history.

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