Carlson, Lori Marie. Illustrated by Raúl Colón. You’re On! Seven Plays in English and Spanish. Morrow Junior Books, 1999. ISBN: 0-688-16237-1. $17.00. 139 pp. A- 1+ Reviewed by David M. Mellinger You’re On! Seven Plays in English and Spanish is an anthology containing both the English and Spanish version of seven plays. Each play is by a different author who represents a particular sector of the Latin culture ranging from South America to the Streets of New York City to Spain. Reviews of each of the plays in the Anthology follow. Belpré, Pura. Tropical Memories. B 1+ This Puerto Rican tale begins with Carmencita's grandfather reminiscing “of a time that was full of delight.” Grandfather soon falls fast asleep while Carmencita sings “The Fruit Trees Bud”-accompanied by a chorus. This particular song represents the dreams of the grandfather. In his dream, all the beautiful flowers, trees, and fruit of yesteryear take him back to an enchanted time full of great delight. He is reassured that his dreams are reality because he lives in the dreams of the past, as Carmencita leads Grandfather away. The play is laced with the beautiful imagery of a lush Garden of Eden that exists in the mind of the grandfather. The inherent beauty of this piece is that it describes the wonderful memories that grandparents can leave with their grandchildren before passing on. Overall, this is a beautiful story; however, it lacks some story development, and the ending is ambiguous. The casting for the play is open with the Chorus and the Coffee Plants, and there are two set characters-Grandfather and Carmencita. The set is an open space that will represent a tropical orchard. <p> Castedo, Elena. Luck. B+ 1+ Five children are dissatisfied with their life in the valley and want to move to the mountains. They approach five children who live in the mountains and ask them if they will trade homes with them. The children living in the mountains quickly refuse, claiming that the breezes, extra sunshine, and beautiful view of the valley are too good to give up. After the children living in the valley offer them money and explain that the houses in the valley really are in better condition, the mountain children agree to change places with them. Soon after the exchange, the valley children who now live in the mountains decide that they would rather live in the valley after all. They approach the children they switched with and offer them money to change places one more time. The children agree, and everyone is happy-particularly those who are several dollars richer than they were before. Both children come to realize how lucky they are to live where they do. The central message of this play is that one must be happy with the conditions surrounding one; the grass may appear greener on the other side, but change will not necessarily yield happiness. The play requires a minimum of two actors and has an unlimited maximum, always divided into two groups. The technical requirements are minimal. <p> Hijuelos, Oscar. Christmas Fantasy. A- 1+ Santa's elves just can't seem to get along. As they routinely quarrel, Mrs. Claus tries her best to quiet them because Santa is very nervous today-he has just been named Time magazine's Man of the Year, and a reporter is on his way to interview him. Furthermore, Mrs. Claus reminds the elves, Santa is always a little on edge during the Christmas season because it reminds him of their lost son whom he accidentally packed away with all of the gifts thirty years ago. Rico Pollo, the long-awaited reporter, finally arrives at Santa's workshop. Taking out a pad of paper, Rico proceeds to ask Santa some questions. During the interview, Santa reveals much secret information-his age, why people use Christmas trees and ornaments in celebrating Christmas, why people never see him coming into their houses on Christmas Eve, and why he uses reindeer to pull his sleigh. Santa goes on to tell Rico that all is well in his life except for one thing-the loss of his baby thirty years ago. As Santa finishes his sad tale, Rico makes a startling announcement-his parents had found him under their Christmas tree exactly thirty years before. Rico is the long lost son of Mr. and Mrs. Claus! The three of them happily rejoice. Christmas Fantasy is a story of hope, lost and regained, in the true spirit of Christmas. The play requires three male and two female characters, as well as five nongender-specified characters. The entire play is set in Santa's workshop; props are minimal. <p> Lorca, Federico García. The Girl Who Waters Basil and the Very Inquisitive Prince. A 2+ This is an old Andalusian story narrated by African Man. He tells the story of a poor shoemaker, Don Gaiferos, who lives across the street from the palace of the prince. The shoemaker is a widower of four years and has a beautiful young daughter named Irene. Early one morning, Irene leaves the house “to water a pot of basil.” At that same time, the prince goes out to get some fresh morning air. As Irene waters the basil, the prince approaches and asks, “How many leaves do you see?” She replies by asking him how many stars are in the sky. The prince, not knowing how to answer the question, decides to leave. At the suggestion of his page, he disguises himself as a grape-seller. Walking down the street selling grapes, the prince comes upon Irene, who sadly has no money to buy grapes. He offers her grapes for kisses-one bunch per kiss. The next morning, Irene goes out to water the basil only to find the prince, no longer disguised as a grape-seller. He again asks how many leaves are on the basil tree; Irene again asks how many stars are in the sky. He responds by asking her about the kisses she gave to the grape-seller, and she leaves crying. The following morning the prince asks the shoemaker why Irene hasn't come out to water the basil. The shoemaker explains that she doesn't want to come out because she was hurt by his previous comment about kissing the grape-seller. Not long after, the prince “becomes sick with melancholia” as he ponders his cruel treatment of the beautiful young lady. The prince becomes so ill that he calls together “a council of the wise” to consult with him. The council decides to call a great magician who wears a hat of stars to cure the prince of his lovesickness. This great magician is actually Irene in disguise. She counsels the prince to marry Irene in order to be completely cured of his love sickness. As she does so, Irene removes her disguise and the prince quickly asks for her hand in marriage. He promises her that “from this day forward, [they] will live with the duende of happiness in [their] hearts.” <p> Federico Garcia Lorca, one of Spain's greatest poets and playwrights, brings us a delightful fairy tale that speaks of the importance of treating others with respect-particularly those we love. This particular version is based on Manuel de Falla's recollection of the original version that has been lost. The play calls for seven male characters and one female character. The set requires two locales; the costumes require nineteenth-century Spanish clothing to be worn by the royalty and peasant characters. <p> Ruiz, Denise. Jump In. A 1+ Today is a very special day-Johanna's birthday. To make her special day even more meaningful, Johanna gets to play Double Dutch with her friends Maritza and Yasmin. But amid all the fun, Johanna's mother calls her home to do the dishes because her father says so. How dare he ruin her special day?! In a moment of desperation, Yasmin and Maritza look for someone to replace Johanna in the game. Another girl, Ceci, tries to coerce her brother, Eddie, into filling the vacancy by offering him a dollar. He refuses and runs off with the dollar. A minor altercation between Loida, a new girl in the neighborhod
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