A Way Forward
A short opera about a Mexican family of three generations in Queens.
A Way Forward follows a Mexican family of three generations who grapple with polarized ideas on how to save their business from the threat of foreclosure. The stress of the situation brings out hidden family dynamics that reveal both their flaws and passion. Will they be able to get through their crisis?
A Way Forward invites the audience into the complexities of a Mexican family spanning three
generations. The opera is centered around their family business, Panadería Gabriel, which
represents the family’s livelihood, heritage, and shared history. Over the years, this traditional
bakery has developed into a symbol of cultural continuity and familial ties.
A moment of crisis at the bakery forces the family members to confront their own and each
other’s assumptions about how to save the business. What aspects of tradition are non-
negotiable and where are they willing to innovate? Does a middle ground exist that would allow
Panadería Gabriel to honor its traditional roots while making a step into the modern world?
Generational perspectives further complicate the story. Oftentimes, older family members are
rooted in tradition and are not always willing to change, while younger members may see
modernization as survival. In essence, this can create pressure with families as they struggle to
balance cultural preservation with the realities of the present. This exploration is particularly
poignant for individuals from BIPOC cultures, in which power dynamics within families may be
perceived as irrevocable, rooted in traditions dating back to ancient times.
Taking center stage is Gabriel, son of Helena and father of Julia, who feels responsible for
navigating through his strengths and weaknesses to solve the crisis for his family. A Way
Forward immerses the audience into the journey of this compassionate man, whose actions are
often deemed weak according to the traditional concept of masculinity, in which men are
expected to conceal their sensibilities.
In A Way Forward, each character embodies a psychological threat to another character’s
sense of normalcy, igniting trepidation amongst them. The question emerges: will this internal
friction cause a tectonic shift, and, if so, will they find the strength to navigate it? Despite the
challenges, the characters, driven by the goodness in their hearts, courageously confront their
own limitations, fostering a stronger bond between them. As writers, our aim is to share the
beauty inherent in this quality, one that has contributed to success within our own family