There are many ways in which the disparity between "los dos developers" and the characters who live in the mission are shown. One of the main ways is through interactions between Yip and Yap, and other characters in the play between transitions in scenes.
“La Virgen” is comforting “Noktolonel” who’s played by Anna Sharp. This image shows the representation of La Virgen as being comforting and being a symbol of hope even in the darkest times. Noktolel is being comforted after her dear friend La Miguelito is shot and killed. (UC Berkeley photo by Ben Dillon)
The images of Noktolel and Yap show the great difference between the “investors” (who are silly caricatures that represent heartless gentrifiers) and people in the areas their actions are affecting. When Yip and Yap have to pass by them to go somewhere, they are very intimidated and shaken by them. A premium example is when they run into Nok and cower in fear, Nok being an incredibly tough and passionate black woman, an OG, one that inspires fear on those that threaten her. This interaction is described in the script when Sean San José writes "Nok approaches, Los Dos Developers grab their stuff and break out," and Nok then yells at them "Why you running? Thought you was paying your respects."
We also see the disconnect between Yip and Yap and the other characters from the Mission in their conversation with Nina, in an effort to convince her to sell the building. Yip and Yap offer to take her out to talk business. Yip and Yap, in unison, say "Lunch? And drinks? Nice little art cafe around the way, nearby." This line accentuates the disconnect between Yip and Yap and the area they are trying to make a profit out of. Mission isn't a place for art cafes; that is not of the culture of the diverse ethnic people of Mission. That is a landmark and manifestation of gentrification. The whole crew later says "Your little art cafe spotty is on the other side the block. Ain’t no restaurant up round here- not inside here. Oh this fool ain’t even trying to see us- no no." They then say two very powerful lines "You don’t see this. You don’t see us." Yip and Yap, though portrayed in this play as silly and funny, are representations of heartless gentrifiers and examples of how racism in America is performed through gentrification. This also serves as a representation of cultural difference and ignorance being used as a way to justify this heartless and savage displacement of people who have more right to the land than they do.
Above is a benner that was put on a building that tells what the people of Mission District want versus what they’re given. San Francisco is no longer an area for working-class people, and this banner is highlighting that also. (Credit: ClockworkGrue via Flickr)
This image is incredibly sad as it has a banner that reads “do not buy our home.” A similar situation can be seen in Who Shot La Miguelito when Nina wants to keep her building which was bought and kept by her grandparents and has stayed in the family, but she needs money. Yip and Yap represent the being that the banner refers to. (Photo Credit: Markus Spiering via Flickr)
The other justification for this new iteration of Manifest Destiny is "los dos developers'" apparent belief that this local cultural genocide was inevitable. The above images tell a story of what the Mission/the Tenderloin is which is important in this context. The “Do Not Buy Our Home” image especially parallels the situation between Nina and Yip and Yap, and the people of Mission and their gentrifiers. The sign about what the people of the mission want, and what they don’t want is also a main idea of the play.
What the people need from real developers is not what Yip and Yap plan to provide. Yip and Yap act partly on the belief that if not them, others would do the exact same, thus their actions do no need to be justified. They imply they are in a "don't hate the player, hate the game" situation through the way they carry themselves as mere players in a race to take over the Mission. One way they imply this is when Yap tells Yip "It’s a big fricking building. Could be a big one for us." Yip tells Yap, “Hello?! Hello: the new mini bedroom apartments, the Dog Yoga spot-- the empty parking lot is like an empty canvas, you look at it right.” The places they describe not only describe schemes that will make them money, but also represent a different culture to that which is already present in the Mission. This culture, which is one that comes with a tech industry, one that wants artsy coffee shops and "Dog Yoda" sports, is a piece of evidence that signals the death of the pre-gentrification culture, and an inevitable change in the eyes of Yip and Yap.
Here, we see people from the Mission District in San Francisco (the setting of Who Shot La Miguelito) protesting the Real Estate giants that buy property in San Francisco to make a profit through increasing the cost of apartments. This price is more suitable to wealthier people moving into San Francisco, and this greed-filled act is carried with no regard for the people already living there... The “Monsters” described in the banner are represented by the characters Yip and Yap. (Photo credit: Kevin N. Hume)
The play Who Shot La Miguelito is incredibly eye-opening for those who have are not currently aware of the threat gentrification poses to San Francisco and especially the people of the Mission. It was also surreal and heart-warming to see a diverse cast (in every aspect, ethnicity, gender, etc.) perform such a beautiful play. For a change, people of color had the chance to imitate those who oppress them and they did so in a very captivating and passionate manner.
Cover Image Mural by Twick ICP, Poster by Ben Dillon
Fuller, Thomas. “Life on the Dirtiest Block in San Francisco.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 8 Oct. 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/08/us/san-francisco-dirtiest-street-london-breed.html.
Mihaila, Georgiana, and Georgiana Mihaila. “San Francisco Gentrification All Mapped Out: See Where Prices Went Up 51%.” PropertyShark Real Estate Blog, 28 Sept. 2017, https://www.propertyshark.com/Real-Estate-Reports/2014/03/21/san-francisco-gentrification-all-mapped-out-see-where-prices-went-up-51/.
San Jose, Sean, Who Shot La Miguelito, Berkeley, CA