by  Lisa Dillman

Full Length Play, Drama  /  3m, 3f

"Breathtaking in every way." - Charles Whaley,

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

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  • Cast Size

    Cast Size

    3m, 3f
  • Duration


    105 Minutes
  • Audience

    Target Audience

    • Adult

Additional Info

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

"...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


Performing Groups

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


  • Artboard 3 Gun Shots
  • Caution Strong Language Strong Language
  • Caution Mild Adult Mild Adult Themes

License details

  • Minimum Fee: $75 per performance



  • Time Period: Contemporary
  • Duration: 105 Minutes
  • Setting: The present. On and around the U.S./Mexico border in southern New Mexico.
  • Additional Features: No intermission
  • Features / Contains: Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes


  • Musical Style: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Vocal Demands: N/A (Not a musical)
  • Chorus Size: N/A (Not a musical)


3m, 3f
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.
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Cast Attributes

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



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,

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Premiered at the 2010 Humana Festival of New American Plays

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