‘Remembering Boyle Heights’ relives neighborhood’s past

Language barrier—Megumi Kabe (left), Ángel Michel Juarez and Raymond Watanga acting in a scene of “Japanese Family Language Barrier.” Courtesy of casa 0101

By Gustavo Buenrostro

Casa 0101 will present  the world premiere of “Remembering Boyle Heights” written by former East Los Angeles College student Josefina Lopez on Friday.

Lopez co-wrote the play with Corky Dominguez, who directs the play.

“Most people don’t know the amazing multi-cultural history of Boyle Heights and how Boyle Heights is the Ellis Island of the West. Most residents have always seen it as a Mexican-American neighborhood and don’t realize how important Boyle Heights is to the rest of Los Angeles, because of all the immigrant history. I want the residents to have pride in knowing amazing things and history happened here. That’s why we must preserve these stories, because gentrification threatens to erase these stories,” said Lopez.

Lopez said she is excited for the play and is hoping people come out to watch.

“Edward Roybal’s story and the Ralph Lazo story are two stories that I want everyone to know because they are so inspiring. Remembering Boyle Heights is the perfect story right now to counter all the racism and anti-Semitism happening in the US right now,” said Lopez.

Along with the play, the Boyle Heights Museum will have an exhibit called “ROYBAL:  A Multi-Racial Catalyst for Democracy.” The exhibit will open on Sunday and will run until Feb. 13.

Dominguez said that the play will be a unique experience for audiences. He said that in the play, audience members will be lead by a tour guide to different historical areas in Boyle Heights.

“From the Breed Street Schul and Canter’s Deli, to Japanese-Americans being forced out of their homes in Boyle Heights during WWII, to the first African-American realtor in Boyle Heights, to students of various ethnic backgrounds playing sports at Theodore Roosevelt High School, we cover a lot of ground,” said Dominguez in a press release.

ELAC theater student Ángel Michel Juárez will be part of the cast of the play. She will play multiple roles, one being Amy, a student at Roosevelt High School and a character simply known as the activist. Juarez said she will also sing at the beginning of the play. The two songs she will sing are “Mal Hombre” by Lydia Mendoza and “Mi Tierra” by Gloria Estefan.

“It’s something that people should be aware of and be mindful of, the gentrification in Boyle Heights,” said Juarez. She said that this play is not a lecture, but to bring awareness of the issues.

“Remembering Boyle Heights” will open on Friday with opening reception at 7:45 p.m. and will run every weekend until December 16. The location of Casa 0101 is at 2102 East 1st Street Boyle Heights.

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