On the surface 26 Miles by Quiara Alegría Hudes is about a mother and a daughter re-connecting through a road trip across America, but digging deeper I feel that the true theme is about reconnecting with our mother-identity.
At the very beginning, our main character, Olivia, tells us a story about a pickpocket and I was reminded of Indigenous storytelling, orally passing down culture, ceremonial practices, myths, legends, etc. Also, throughout the play there are characters not tied to the main story that seemed to be always around when Olivia was either sharing a story or an excerpt from her self-published magazine or during crossroad moments. Moments when Olivia could either choose to turn back to her life as she has always known it, or continue forward however frightening, difficult or hopeless it might appear to be. With this, my vision began to take shape and I discovered that these were not merely readers, clerks or tamale sellers, but Spirits guiding Olivia through her path, either benevolently or through mischievous trickery.
This is not just a mother/daughter story, this is a story of loss and reclamation, a story of disconnection and reconnection. This is an Our story.