Mother Road

by Octavio Solis
Originally produced at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland, OR
March 3 to October 26, 2019


About the Premiere Production:

Synopsis: Inspired by John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, this world-premiere drama finds hardworking and hard-living William Joad with no blood kin to whom he can pass down the family farm. No one, that is, until he finds an unexpected relation, Martin Jodes—a young Mexican-American man descended from Steinbeck’s protagonist Tom Joad. The two men travel from California back to Oklahoma, reversing the Joads’ mythic journey in an epic story about land, family and survival.

Artistic Statement: "Mother Road is a powerful new play by Octavio Solis; his imagined sequel and respectful and intrepid response to the Steinbeck classic The Grapes of Wrath. Mother Road is a quintessential work of art for this moment in American history, as our country moves from a white majority to a majority people of color. As we hear in the media and in conversations around us, many are experiencing turmoil, fear and hope, all of which are embodied in Octavio’s masterful words. This is a play that captures the intersection of migration, people and cultures. Its subject matter reflects a shared history of America, including the Mexican-American, migrant and immigrant experiences, and how they are interconnected in the American West. It examines justice and injustice, how these can shift depending on who is defining them, and how brutal some versions of American 'justice' can be, particularly for people of color and the poor. Mother Road continues the deep exploration of the immigrant experience we’ve presented at OSF in the past decade; in such plays as Luis Alfaro’s Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles and Qui Nguyen’s Vietgone. The expanded rehearsal for Mother Road gives the actors, Octavio, and myself as the director the necessary time and space to fully excavate the complicated depths of our country’s history and westward migration, and themes of familial legacy and coming to terms with American identity at this time of great change." – Bill Rauch, Artistic Director

Grant Statement: "The rehearsal time supported by an Edgerton Foundation New Play Award is invaluable to the script refinement, character development, staging and cultural framework of Mother Road. The extra weeks assemble the full creative team for the first time and give the playwright, director, design team and full cast critical additional days to dive into the complex material together. In particular they allow a) Octavio, myself and the designers time together to examine the intricacies of our country’s history and westward migration and the interactions of people and the land, including the incorporation of a vehicle on stage; and b) the nine actors to fully explore their characters and begin preparing early for what promise to be moving and complex roles. Mother Road’s mix of cultural history and highly theatrical imagery requires a depth of exploration and innovation that only expanded rehearsal time can provide." – Bill Rauch, Artistic Director

Director: Bill Rauch
Set Designer: Christopher Acebo
Lighting Designer: Pablo Santiago
Costume Designer: Carolyn Mazuca
Sound Designer:Paul James Prendergast
Video Designer: Kaitlyn Pietras
Cast:Catherine Castellanos, Armando Duran, Fidel Gomez, Jeffrey King, Cedric Lamar, Amy Lizardo, Mark Murphey, Tony Sancho


Additional funders: Helen and Peter Bing, Bertie Bialek Elliott/Buffett Fund of the Community Foundation for Monterey County, Oregon Cultural Trust, Henderson-Sonna Family, Kevin and Suzanne Kahn, Kathleen Quinn and Michael McClain.

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