St. Elvira’s father was a pharmacist. She watched him mix and dispense medicine that cured people of awful sicknesses. She studied hard and pursued the same path, putting it on hold when her parents died so she could help her younger brother complete his studies.
When the Spanish civil war broke out, she hid clergy along with women who spoke out against the draconian restrictions on women.
The Secret Police executed her.
Meet Elvira Cantarero. She graduated top of her class at pharmacy school at her dad’s alma mater, UNC-Chapel Hill. Constantly in trouble for writing papers about innovative, safe birth control compounds and ways of delivering medical marijuana, it was with a great deal of begrudging that her instructors gave her the top marks she earned. None would write a recommendation for her to join the staffs of any of the major hospitals in the South, so she cryptically wrote on her graduation notes that she would be “freelancing.” She decides to not rise and fall by destiny, but one day causes her to realize she was born for such a time as this, and even open her scientific mind to the possibility that she was created for this moment at the time the world began.
Her beloved father and mother die ~ her mother is near death from a medication mixup at the hospital where she was taken by ambulance after collapsing at Vincento’s soccer game at university. Her father is hit by a drunk driver. Elvira rushes to his side, and as she reaches him, he gasps out, “We’ll never know why this happened. I know you will spend your life trying to understand. Just know that you will see the sun again. Keep Vincento with you and never be alone. Vinnie’s with your mother and you’re with me at the end. Be the keepers of the flame. Be open to touching the lives around you. Go as far as you can.”
This is Vincento — Vinnie Cantarero, champion halfback on the UNC soccer team and in his third year of premed when he and Elvira lose their parents. His sister is just starting in life and he has no idea how they will make it. He has to stay in school. He didn’t ask for this. He knows it’s not the time to focus on his issues. He has a plan that will get them money, but like all high rewards ventures it’s risky.
North Carolina is hit by increasing controls over citizens’ personal lives, giving rise to the Moral Monday protests at the Capitol. Elvira, seeking a new source of meaning in her life, joins. There she meets Elias, who was expelled from university for dealing marijuana. He tells her about his start in dealing; his girlfriend had chronic migraines that left her unable to study. In scoring weed for her, he also earned tuition money.
Elias’s girlfriend, Carlota, miraculously relieved of her migraines, has returned to school, studying social work. Her thesis is on how increasing women’s access to birth control and education raises the standard of living for a whole society. She creates a model for increasing health and well being of most poor families across North and South Carolina with the expansion of the ideas in existing programs and creating opportunities for people at risk to take charge of their situations instead of being consumers of programs. She is now in danger of expulsion. She has begun distributing marijuana to people she’s encountered who have cancer, glaucoma, chronic pain, and certain mental disorders.
Elvira, Vinnie, Elias and Carlota are arrested and held without bail and trial.
That’s the end of Act 1.
In Act 2 we meet Gezane, Judith, Gabi and Lucia.