Monday, March 30, 2009

Character Breakdowns

Cast Breakdowns for Grand Café

Storyline – The Grand Café uses the Latin Telenovela format (but in English) to tell the story of 4 women who have immigrated to America from different countries. They all want to start their own businesses, and became friends through a business start-up class they take together. They meet each week in the Grand Café to discuss their aspirations, struggles, and triumphs.

This is an educational series aimed at low income women who speak English as a Second Language.

  1. Silvia Martinez, female

Age: early to mid 30’s


Silvia is an immigrant from Mexico City. She wants to start a fix-it business working out of her small pick-up truck. She dresses in overalls and ties her long wavy hair back. Having had an unhappy marital experience when young, she is distrustful of men. Silvia strongly advocates female independence. She’s smart and practical – the voice of reason in the group. When café owner Antonio Talamentez becomes interested in Silvia, she is resistant but finally warms up to him in the end.

  1. Antonio Talamentez, male

Age: early to mid 30’s


Antonio is originally from Mexico City. He owns the Grand Café, where the women meet each week. He is good looking in a sincere kind of way; a very eligible bachelor who is attentive, upbeat, funny, and helpful. He usually greets the ladies with a little quip or joke. He encourages and inspires them, as he knows a lot about the nuts and bolts of small businesses. Since Silvia is Mexican, they have a lot to talk about. Though Silvia is often dismissive of his abundant flattery, it doesn’t seem to daunt him.

  1. Yolanda Gonzalez, female

Age: mid-40’s

Married to Oscar; 2 children (Marisol and Marcos)

Yolanda and her husband are immigrants from El Salvador. Yolanda wants to open a morning drive-through coffee stand. Her family, especially her mother, is resentful of the café meetings and unsupportive of her desire to start a business and work outside of the home. However, she loves to be around people, and her kids are in school all day. Yolanda has a rebellious teenage daughter and an 8-yr old son.

  1. Lily Toussaint, female

Age: 36

Married to Christian; no kids but trying

Lily is an immigrant from Haiti. She is very artistic and successful at creating and selling jewelry at the Farmers Market. Her house is overflowing with beads and jewelry-making paraphernalia. Her husband, Christian, is a busy musician with a full time day job. She has no kids, yet, but at 36 years old, her biological clock is screaming. Being the creative type, she has trouble getting organized and is frustrated by the limited space she has in her home to make her wares.

  1. Diana Wong, female

Age: mid to late 30’s

Single mother; 5-yr old daughter May-Ying

Diana is an immigrant from China. She is insecure about her English, although it is very good. She has a hard time taking care of her 5 yr-old daughter, working, and taking classes. She is exhausted and frustrated. Diana has a talent for bookkeeping and a passion for numbers, but is intimidated by computers in the U.S., so she plans on opening a childcare center. Later, as Diana gains more confidence, her plans change.

  1. Cecilia Guidos, female

Age: mid-30’s


Cecelia is an old friend of the family who grew up in Antonio's neighborhood in Mexico City. She has always liked Antonio, but he is not interested in her romantically. She dresses in provocative clothing, and is willing to do anything to get Antonio's attention. She tries to get him to partner with some unsavory characters.

  1. Marisol, female, Latina (Salvadoran preferred) 

Age: 17-18

High school student, Yolanda's daughter

Marisol is a rebellious 17-year old. She is a computer wiz and hip hop fan, first-generation Latin-American. She is always either listening to her Ipod or talking on her cell phone. She wears exaggerated fashions and make-up which she and Yolanda argue about. Marisol uses her computer skills to help Silvia, Diana, and later her mother.

  1. Alina, female, Salvadoran, speaks Spanish lines

Age: mid to late 60’s

Widowed mother of 2 grown children, Yolanda's mother

Alina is Yolanda’s mother and disapproves of Yolanda opening a business. She lives with the family.

From El Salvador; Must speak Spanish in scenes.

  1. Oscar, male, Salvadoran

Age: Mid 40’s

Married to Yolanda, 2 children (Marisol and Marcos)

Oscar is Yolanda’s husband. He travels a lot for business so cannot help much with the house or kids.

  1. Marcos, male, Latino (Salvadoran preferred) 

Age: 8

Yolanda and Oscars son

Marcos is an outgoing 8-year old boy who likes to joke around with his big sister, Marisol.

  1. Christian, male, Haitian accent

Age: mid-30’s

Married to Lily; no children

Christian, also Haitian, is a musician and works full time during the week as a mover. Although he is a sweet and attentive husband to Lily, he is often busy at night with gigs and rehearsals. His band plays and sells CD’s around town.

  1. May-Ying, female

Age: 5

Diana’s daughter

May-Ying is almost 5 (but still in preschool).

  1. Gabriel Peña, male 

Age: 50’s

Marital Status: single

Gabriel is an eccentric inventor who comes into the café trying to convince Silvia to build prototypes for his rather humorous creations and crazy ideas.

  1. Naseem, Persian, Iranian Muslim female

Age: early 50’s

Naseem is a Muslim woman from Iran. She is experienced and wise and quick to give good advice to friends. She sells arts and crafts imports from around the world at the Farmer’s Market in the stall next to Lily’s. Lily sometimes confides in her.

  1. Mr. Capelli

Age: 40’s - 50’s

Mr. Capelli is Lily’s banker. He is knowledgeable, kind, patient, helpful, and treats his customers very well.

  1. Mr. Morrison, 

Age: 40’s - 50’s

Mr. Morrison is the rude banker who serves Yolanda. He is snooty, uptight, and does not treat her very well at the bank.

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