THE STORY: Working on a project for his high-school science class, Junior Rodrigues scans the night sky with his telescope, searching for comets and shooting stars while his shy teenage neighbor, Olivia Pena, stands dutifully by, hoping that he will take notice of her. Meanwhile Junior's sister, Lilly, Olivia's classmate, wrestling with the sudden, sobering realization that she is pregnant, wonders how she will tell their harassed, overworked mother. Shielded from the harsh reality of the streets by her overprotective, old world grandparents, Olivia is as hopeful and naïve as Lilly is brassy and disenchanted, but when Lilly goes into premature labor it is to Olivia she turns for help and forebearance. And, as the action of the play moves toward its affecting conclusion, it is punctuated and commented on by the street vendor, a seller of magic potions and charms who acts as a link between the old ways and the new, and whose presence edges the play towards a mystical level as those involved seek his help in finding a higher meaning in the stark, earthly events that confront them.
Commissioned and produced by New York's Theatre for a New Audience, this eloquently expressive play gives evidence of the further artistic growth of a young Hispanic-American writer of exceptional talent. Sometimes lyrical and poetic, sometimes harsh and unstintingly realistic, the play captures the vitality and turbulence of life—and love—in the barrio and the dynamic intermingling of the old and the new that characterizes it. "What makes this more than another genre picture of an ethnic lowlife is Sanchez-Scott's poetic sensitivity, which comes out in her fully-rounded and sympathetic treatment of her characters as much as in her language." —Village Voice. "…a wistful study of adolescent yearning…Ms. Sanchez-Scott has a theatrical flair and a lyrical command of language…" —NY Times.