Revealing the less known about our roots from Community Asian Theatre of the Sierra in Nevada City | TheUnion.com

Revealing the less known about our roots from Community Asian Theatre of the Sierra in Nevada City

Jeannie Wood
Special to The Union

The personal story of Nancy Wang is revealed in "Red Altar" which is a dramatization of early Chinese settlers, immigration and migration, and the examination of contributions of all ethnic groups.

Have you ever wondered about your ancestors — about how they came to America, about why they came, and about the contributions they may have made to the cultural fabric of this great nation?

Nancy Wang, a fifth generation Chinese-American, originally from Chicago, and is one-half of the duo Eth-Noh-Tec with her husband Robert Kikuchi-Yngojo, an acclaimed storytelling troupe from San Francisco, learned in the 1960s that she is a descendant of the Chinese who, in the 1850s, founded the world-renown fishing industry in Monterey, California.

Through word-of-mouth storytelling from her elders, she was able to piece together a collage, an historic gem, that is widely unknown.

Her personal story is revealed in "Red Altar," a compelling dramatization of those early Chinese settlers, to be performed on Saturday, Nov. 18, at 8 p.m., at the historic Nevada Theater in Nevada City, produced by Community Asian Theatre of the Sierra (CATS).

The more profound message of "Red Altar" is on a very timely issue today, immigration and migration, and the examination of contributions of all ethnic groups. Unless we are Native Americans, we are all descendants.

"Red Altar" will inspire us to dig deeply into our own heritage and roots, and inspire us to begin to explore the intricate pieces of our unique selves and to celebrate our commonalities and differences and embrace communities.

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Compelling stories, such as Wang's, are generally not taught in our schools, and they should be, because they add another valuable piece to this American Dream.

With support of a generous grant from Community Players Trust, Community Asian Theatre of the Sierra is offering 25 full scholarships to teachers and educators, in the form of continuing education, which includes: the play, "Red Altar," on Saturday, Nov. 18, and a follow-up workshop, "Immigratitude: Crossing Borders, Collages of Connection," on Sunday, Nov. 19, 1-5 p.m., to be led by the actors themselves in Nevada City. (Venue to be advised.)

This workshop serves as a "companion" to the play and gives rise to a deeper understanding on immigration, migration and ultimately, gratitude for people of all ethnicities.

The play and workshop serve as valuable tools and resources to the teaching professional, who is at the forefront of young people. With such a hot topic as immigration today, adding such an enlightened perspective can shed light on contributions of other groups.

The play and workshop may enhance their curriculums and repertoire in the classrooms and educational environments, thus enabling them to become more effective leaders.

To apply for a scholarship, please contact Jeannie Wood at info@catsweb.org for details.

A more comprehensive article on Red Altar will appear in the Thursday, Nov. 2, edition of The Prospector. Tickets are $20 and are available at the Book Seller, the Briar Patch Co-op, at http://www.catsweb.org and at the door.