PLAY/ground: Playwright Micro-Interview 2 of 4

Alleluia, The Road
by Luis Alfaro,
Directed by Jessica Kubzansky
Saturday, December 11 , 2010 at 3pm
Inspired by August Strindberg’s The Road To Damascus and a true story of a disappeared UCLA student, Alfaro explores the Seven Vices, the Seven Last Cries of Christ on the Cross, and the Seven Stops on Highway 99: Isaac, a former child preacher, has disappeared, leaving no trace behind. In spite of being told that Isaac is gone forever,  his mother Mary refuses to stop searching. As their journeys intersect, the nature of faith is called into question and a family’s truth is revealed.

BOSTON COURT: Alleluia, The Road is inspired by August Strindberg’s The Road to Damascus.  How much of the piece is a direct adaptation and in what ways did you use the structures and ideas inherent in the work to forge this play’s own landscape?

LUIS ALFARO: Well, hm… I think a play starts from many places and even though I am not always aware of them – interconnected ideas – are floating in space, but also in my head. Can you tell I am about to start Chapter Two of A Brief History of Time? Yes, Strindberg has been on my mind a lot – both his plays and his life. An amazing eccentric (these days we might see him as mentally ill) who wrote his last play, The Great Highway – A Wayfaring Drama with Seven Stations based on his next-to-last play, To Damascus which was a trilogy in which he looked back on his life. It was four hours long, no one would produce it, and it played for one performance in Stockholm in 1910. What a night!  At the same time, I was traveling a lot up Highway 99 – which runs through Central California – to go to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival where I was doing a residency. I love all the towns along the way. My family is from Delano, which is right past Bakersfield.  Add another element to the stew – a young man disappeared from UCLA and was never seen again. He left his keys, shoes, wallet next to his computer, all in a neat row. Roughly 2300 people go missing in America every day! Of that number, about 42,000 have gone missing on purpose each year. This research really sent my mind spinning. Finally I started to think in sevens a lot. I don’t know why, but I was thinking about the seven deadly sins, Christ’s seven last cries, seven stops on the highway – and the play started to write itself.  Now I have to put together all the scenes and let the play tell me what I need to do. I am spending a lot of time at my desk/altar – praying and writing – and hoping the story that is emerging is one that audiences might want to hear. Oh, isn’t process amazing? It really is like praying.  So, back to Strindberg – no, I don’t think I have much of his play in mine – just a lot inspiration and probably his essence floating all through the play. Do I sound like I’m high? I’m on Jenny Craig right now, so I might sound unintelligible.

PLAY/ground is free an open to the public.  To make reservations for this play,  or any of the others in the festival, call 626-683-6883 ext. 206.


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