Boundary Breaker: Raul Castillo's "Border Crossing"

© Enoch Chan

In San Diego, an outdoor theater experience, written by Raul Castillo, will give audience members insight and understanding into the life of an undocumented immigrant.

Each year hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants risk their lives to cross the border from Mexico to the United States. This summer in San Diego, an open-air theatrical experience will give audiences a chance to walk a mile in those immigrants’ shoes. Everyone who scores a ticket to Border Crossing will effectively become an illegal immigrant. Audience members will encounter migrants, border patrol agents, coyotes, prospective employers, and landowners, while making their way through the picturesque canyons of Balboa Park at night. Few other details about the play are known, but all signs point to an event that will push the boundaries of immersive theater. A co-production of San Diego’s Museum of Man and the prestigious La Jolla Playhouse, Border Crossing has been in development for more than two years with an advisory council spanning a broad ideological spectrum, from federal immigration officials to academics and activists. The playwright is Raúl Castillo, who grew up in Texas near the Mexican border and is best known for his work as an actor. As Richie, the gay heartthrob in HBO’s dramatic comedy Looking, the heterosexual Castillo has crossed borders that most straight male actors long considered taboo and has created one of the most complex, authentic gay characters ever seen on TV. With Border Crossing, Castillo will apply his gift for empathy to yet another experience of life that mainstream culture rarely conjures in three dimensions. The result will surely be worth watching. This summer at Balboa Park, 1549 El Prado, San Diego; lajollaplayhouse.org.