A two-act play in English, it was developed at the Bilingual Foundation of the Arts of Los Angeles. It was workshopped there first, and afterwards at both The Old Globe Theatre in San Diego and The Ford Anson Theatre in L.A.
Mexican immigrants Bonifacio and Emma come to L.A. with dreams of professional success, but poor English shunts them into menial jobs. Their dreams are salvaged by the seemingly limitless opportunities available in Totally You, Inc., a multi-level outfit. Soon they are scaling the heights of free enterprise. However, when their American “up-lines” begin to play hardball, Bonifacio and Emma must decide what to assimilate in their adoptive country, and what to leave behind.
FULL SCRIPT AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST
(IN ACT ONE, Max and Sherri come to the house of Bonifacio and Emma to sign them up as distributors for a multilevel company that markets a facial creme.)
(When Bonifacio and Emma are by themselves, they speak unaccented English. When they are with Max and Sherri, they speak broken English or phrases in Spanish. The character "S.G." is a non-verbal presence who acts out the cultural divide.)
SHERRI(sharply, to Max): Why don’t we get things started here.
MAX: Got the triplicates?
SHERRI: In the bag.
MAX: Whoa. That was quick.
SHERRI: Max loves to joke. The triplicates are in the bag, dear. The briefcase. I haven’t taken them out yet!
MAX: All righty. (taking papers from S.G.) This thing is easy as pie. What’d you good people say your names were?
SHERRI: You’re Emma Soto, I know that.
BONIFACIO: De Soto. Yes, and I am Jose Bonifacio Everardo Soto Maldonado.
MAX(starting to write): How about we just put Bo. There we are. Great. Now, big question, Bo. Are you happy with your life right now?
SHERRI: It’s really a question for both of you.
EMMA: I am not so happy, no.
SHERRI: And you, Bo?
BONIFACIO: Well, what kind of happy?
EMMA: Ay, gordo.
BONIFACIO: Happy, now, today, specifically? Or in general way, globally?
MAX: Forget the globe, we’re talking about you, Bo. Are you happy, yea or nay?
BONIFACIO: But I need to know, please. What is really meant by “happy?”
SHERRI: Content. Satisfied.
BONIFACIO: To be happy is only to be satisfied?
EMMA (aside to Bonifacio): De-ja-lo.
BONIFACIO: Excuse me, please.
(B. & E. move to bedroom area. No accents. S.G. hovers with them;
he’s on Emma’s side of the argument.)
BONIFACIO: Why did we invite these people here?
EMMA: You agreed to invite them.
BONIFACIO: What choice did I have? Easy work, easy profits—hallelujah! Our troubles are over!
(Meanwhile, in the living room...)
MAX: Like we’ve been talking to ourselves.
SHERRI: Well, with the language and all.
MAX: Screw the language. They’re duds.
SHERRI: She isn’t.
BONIFACIO: Him, I seen better prospects at the City Morgue.
SHERRI: I still have a good feeling about them, Max.
MAX: The only good feeling I’ll have is when that first override check comes rolling in.
(Meanwhile, in the bedroom, no accents...)
EMMA: Every time I say something in English, you oppose me. And all your questions, my God! I wouldn’t be surprised if they walk out on us.
BONIFACIO: Let them walk. I didn’t come to this country to sell snake oil, Emma.
EMMA: If the money is good, why not? At least it’s in the medical field, and you know what? It’s an emollient, not an oil.
BONIFACIO: And this here is not a radio, it’s a high frequency wave receiver, right? But let’s suppose we sign up with this company nobody on Planet Earth has ever heard of .
EMMA: You are such an expert at being miserable.
BONIFACIO: If that is a sin God will punish me for it, so please don’t exercise yourself.
EMMA: You know what’s a sin? That a man with a beautiful gift of healing—instead of being in school where he belongs, he’s parking cars at a spaghetti house.
BONIFACIO: Furillo’s is a four star restaurant.
EMMA: And what they serve is spaghetti!