The story is divided in three acts, each focusing on a specific location. The first act begins with the family preparing to move from thecountryside to San Juan, capital of Puerto Rico, in search of a "better life". The second act takes place a year later in San Juan, specifically in La Perla slum, where the family has moved. The final acttakes place yet another year apart, in The Bronx, New York, where the family has ended, looking for a better life.
The most recent production of the play stars Johanna Rosaly in the role of Gabriela.It was performed on March 2009 in Caguas and Santurce in Puerto Rico and will return to the stage in September and October 2009 in Mayaguez and Santurce. The show is produced by New Moon Productionsand directed by Pablo Cabrera.
Chaguito: a mischievous adolescent, very street wise, who hates school and is extremely aggressive and disrespectful—he ends up arrested for theft.Doña Gabriela: a widow and mother of Chaguito and Juanita and stepmother of Luis; she has a strong character which is undermined during the transition to the city; she is bound by her role as motherand is very protective of the insecure Luis by supporting his decision to move the family, thereby stifling her true feelings
Juanita: the character who experiences the most development in hertransition from a docile personality to a strong, politicized one; she challenges the traditional concept of honor and the double standard that obligates women, not men, to maintain the family honor, whichshe defies by becoming a prostitute; her political development comes as a result of witnessing the oppression of minority groups in New York City, especially through judicial inequalities