Carpinterian John Guerra is stepping into the spotlight with the premiere of his new play, “The Last, Best Small Town,” which will run at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga between July 31 and Nov. 7.
The play focuses on a pair of families in Fillmore, a town in Ventura County known as the “Last, Best Small Town in Southern California.” It explores the families’ troubles, and how it feels to come of age in a “world that can no longer promise them a better life than their parents had,” the play description reads.
Guerra drew from his own life growing up in the area. He noted in a press release that he grew up straddling two worlds; his mother’s family hails from Mexico via Boyle Heights, while his father comes from the Midwest.
“I grew up in a big road trip family, and Fillmore featured prominently in many of them,” Guerra said. “I remember watching from the backseat as Fillmore grew and grew. But by the time I was an adult, that growth seemed to have slowed considerably. It felt like a metaphor for what we, as a nation, were facing in the years following the financial crisis of 2008. So, I decided to write this play.”
“The play is also a way for me to reckon with my own identity,” Guerra added. “A lot of the issues that Maya and Elliot struggle with were my own as I came of age, and the conversations about race they are forced to confront are ones that, as someone who is mixed, are constantly going on within myself.”
The play is directed by Ellen Geer. Learn more or purchase tickets at theatricum.com.