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Ground - Full Length Play, Drama


Lisa Dillman

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Full Length Play, Drama

3m, 3f

ISBN: 9780573699023

"Breathtaking in every way." - Charles Whaley, TotalTheater.com

"...Tackles the hot-button issue of illegal immigration." - David Shreward, Back Stage

More Information Below:

Description | Characters | Rental Materials | Author | Now Playing | Reviews
: Acting Edition
: Large Print
: Stage Manager

Minimum Fee: $75 per performance


Full Length Play


105 Minutes

Time Period - Contemporary

Settings Of Play - The present. On and around the U.S./Mexico border in southern New Mexico.


No intermission

Bare Stage/Simple Set

Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes


Gun Shots, Strong Language, Mild Adult Themes




College Theatre / Student, Community Theatre, Professional Theatre, Large Stage

When Zell Preston inherits her father's struggling pecan farm and moves back to her childhood home in Fronteras, New Mexico, she finds that the once tight-knit border community has changed radically. The government has cracked down on the undocumented immigrant population, dividing families and pitting neighbor against neighbor. Chuy Gallegos, foreman at the Preston farm for 30 years, wants the piece of land he says Zell's father promised him long ago. Ines Sandoval and her sister Angie Zelaya lobby for the return of their recently deported aunt. Angie's husband Carl Zelaya defends to his community and family his choice to work for the Border Patrol. And Cooper Daniels, industrial pecan grower and head of a civilian border surveillance group, forges ahead with a volunteer-built fence. These forces collide in Ground, which examines the human costs of immigration policies, and the strength of personal beliefs about family, home, and civil rights in the face of a shifting political and social landscape.

"Breathtaking in every way." - Charles Whaley, TotalTheater.com

"...Tackles the hot-button issue of illegal immigration." - David Shreward, Backstage

"The hot-button topic of controlling illegal immigration is presented in a highly personal context, so that the characters make choices based on distinct and individual motivations that are well delineated in the writing. It is an engrossing drama" – Keith Waits, Theatre Louisville

Premiered at the 2010 Humana Festival of New American Plays


3m, 3f


Ensemble cast, Multicultural casting, Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)


N/A (Not a musical)

CARL ZELAYA, 35, Mexican-American. Lifelong resident of Fronteras. A border patrolman for the past year.
ZELDA PRESTON, 35, Anglo-American. Originally from Fronteras, she left her father’s farm at sixteen, returning only for sporadic visits in the intervening years. At the beginning of the play, it has been about 20 years since the farm was her home. She is of Fronteras,
but also a stranger there.
ANGIE (OCHOA) ZELAYA, 34, Mexican-American. Married to Carl, she is a lifelong Fronteras resident. She works the underground economy, cutting hair, cleaning houses, and selling home-made foods.
COOPER (“COOP”) DANIELS, early 60s, Anglo-American. Lifelong Fronteras resident. A commercial pecan grower and the local spokesperson for the civilian border defense organization Citizens Alliance.
CHUY GALLEGOS, mid-50s. Born in Mexico, he came to the U.S. as a very young man. An expert on pecan farming, he has served as the Preston farm’s foreman more than thirty years.
INES (OCHOA) SANDOVAL, 21, Mexican-american. Lifelong Fronteras resident and Angie’s younger sister. Six months pregnant, she lives alone in a trailer on the outskirts of Fronteras. Her husband of two years, Georgie, is stationed in Iraq.
Rental Materials


N/A (Not a musical)


N/A (Not a musical)


Lisa Dillman

Lisa Dillman's plays include Detail of a Larger Work, The Walls, Flung, Half of Plenty, Rock Shore, Six Postcards, No Such Thing, Shady Meadows, and Ground. Her work has been produced at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Actors Theatre of Louisville, American Theatre Company, Rogue Machine Theatre, Summer Play Festival, Hypothetical Theatre Company, and Rivendell Theatre Ensemble. Her plays have been ... view full profile

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