“The main themes of the play deal with identity, a sense of place, the notion of home and the problems of gentrification. It was a way for me to deal with things I really like to write about, such as race, culture, power and socio-economics. So, while focusing on a gentrifying neighborhood, I was really able to capture a lot of those things I hope to explore and keep writing about. Personally, I’ve been on all different spokes of that equation. I grew up in the city of Detroit in a neighborhood that never gentrified. There were great parts about it and also challenging parts about that. Then when I moved to Chicago, I was amazed at how quickly neighborhoods were gentrified. People would just be displaced. Ecosystems would be completely destroyed in a matter of a year or two. So, in my mind, this is just an interesting, rich territory that I have had some first-hand experience in dealing with, that I care about, that I want to talk about as a writer. The characters in the play are not based on anybody I know. They truly are amalgamations and creations. And the events and focusing within the play are not based on anything specific from my life. But I’m sure there are elements of me in all of it. My home is still Chicago. I moved there right out of college. It had a great cultural and theater scene and still does. It has been a very supportive environment for me. Broken Fences premiered at Ballybag, a small theater in New York. And then I was invited to bring it to The Road here in Los Angeles. I am just very happy to be here.”
Julio Martinez-hosted Arts in Review—celebrating the best in theater and cabaret in the Greater Los Angeles area—airs Fridays (2-2:30pm) on KPFK (90.7FM).