We all, the actors, the designers, and my stage management team, create the production together out of our passion to tell the playwright's story, so I'm excited by all possibilities into the room.

TS: What do you think 72 Miles to Go… is about? Can producing this play in 2020 have an impact on the treatment of undocumented immigrants in this country? JB: First and foremost, 72 Miles is about family, and specifically, an American family. Hilary and I have discussed that it is both a love story between Anita and Billy and a coming-of-age story focusing on their three children, Christian, Eva and Aaron, and how they navigate their formative years. The family shares the universal life markers that we're all familiar with—birthdays, anniversaries, the prom, graduation, first jobs, marriages, and the birth of children.

The family is a complex mix of multi-generational Mexican-American, first-generation American (America being the only country and culture they have ever known), and undocumented immigrants. This places the family and the lives of these children at the center of the bigger socio-political drama of America's troubled, ever-changing attitude to its immigrants. How that affects the individual family members over the course of eight years is the journey of the story. I certainly can't say that presenting this play will ultimately impact the politics we are currently experiencing, but what I hope is that it might refocus the narrative on the individual.

TS: What did you look for in casting the actors? What traits did you need? JB: We were keen to cast not just Latinx actors but as many Mexican- American actors as possible. A big focus of the casting was on creating a believable family and an ensemble who were genuinely committed to telling this story. It's challenging to span eight years, particularly with teenage characters, and we lucked out with our amazing cast.

TS: How will the play manifest itself visually? How are you collaborating with your entire design team? Will there be original music? JB: I have a long history with several of my collaborators and, as always, rely on their input and insights to help frame the story. The fragility of “home” for this family gave Rachel Hauck, my set designer, and me the foundation for the set concept. The span of time (eight years, from 2008 to 2016, under the Obama administration) and multiple locations demanded a fluid space, which I knew Lap Chi Chu, our lighting designer, could carve and shape beautifully. I place complete confidence in Emilio Sosa, whom I've collaborated with for nearly 20 years, to track and detail the costumes that will take characters from their teens to 20s. The soundscape of the play is something that my sound designer, Elisheba Ittoop has a wonderful take on. As she has remarked, kids like her and those in the play are kinds of “third culture kids,” blending musical styles and elements to make a hybrid fusion that suits them. This is particularly the case in border sister cities like Tucson and Nogales.

TS: What keeps you inspired as an artist? What other projects are you working on? JB: Not to be glib, but life is pretty inspiring—it keeps demanding that we look around and take responsibility and tell the stories of our time. I'm excited a play that I directed two seasons ago, Cost of Living, written by Martyna Majok, is moving to Broadway and will have the chance of being seen by many more people in the Fall. It's very beautiful, painful and funny and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2018.

TS: Any advice for a young person who wants to direct for the theatre? JB: The possibilities of theatre are wonderfully open, but it can also be a bit of a hermetically sealed bubble. I'd encourage them to keep engaged with all forms of art, to experience as much dance, live music, and visual art as theatre and to travel, when possible, for a different perspective. Remain hungry to tell the stories they're personally excited and challenged by.•

Jacqueline Guillén, Triney Sandoval, Tyler Alvarez,

and Bobby Moreno in 72 Miles to Go... Photo: Jeremy Daniel



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