Photo by Edwin Pabon

26 Miles is, in my opinion, one of Quiara Alegria Hudes’ most intimate plays. Far from the psychic landscape of war that Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue presents, 26 Miles is a story about mothers and daughters, about the mistakes we make as parents and as children, about the unique ways that, in the words of Doug Wright, family “both wounds us and applies the salve.”

A couple of months ago, we did a private table read of the play – just director Rebecca Martinez, this cast, a couple board members members and stakeholders, and me. Under fluorescent lights, on thinly-padded folding chairs, the actors read the script cold. We spent the next 80 minutes alternately laughing and crying together. Afterwards we found ourselves sharing our own stories of having – or being – single parents, of navigating more than one culture in a family, of addiction and recovery, of cultural pride and the pressure to conform or assimilate, of the courage it takes to forge one’s own identity and the challenge to claim one’s cultural history.

It never ceases to amaze me the power of actors to make themselves vulnerable, or of good writing to lead us into a more compassionate, more empathic space. We listened to each other’s stories, and to the story Quiara had written, and in so doing, we came to know ourselves better. That’s the power of the theater. For 80 minutes, if we listen and allow ourselves to be moved, we might recognize ourselves in each other and make a less lonesome world.

26 Miles runs June 15-25, 2017.

Get tickets HERE.