The 27-year-old playwright and DePaul lecturer grew up in El Paso, Texas, just across the border from Ciudad Juárez. The unsolved murders of hundreds of women in that Mexican city serve as the backdrop for his new play, La Ruta, about two mothers looking for their missing daughters. It runs December 13 to January 27 at Steppenwolf.
On violence in the region
“My family stopped crossing the border when I was in middle school because it got so bad. My uncle went missing for a while. He was eventually found naked and dead by a ditch.”
On staying true to his art
“I’ve been in the smallest houses and the largest ones. It doesn’t matter to me what the house is, as long as my gut instinct about what I want to say stays intact.”
On being a Latino playwright
“I’ve had artistic directors or literary managers who are predominantly white and don’t understand why my plays are structured the way they are or how a character speaks. I’ll be like, ‘My mother is Mexican, and that’s how she talks.’ ”