Director Jennifer Uphoff Gray on 4000 Miles

The first time I read 4000 MILES, I recognized the characters immediately.

Leo definitely feels familiar --my husband is also a serious cyclist (though his longest ride to date has been across Wisconsin, not across the whole country). Life with a cyclist can be amusing for those of us not as passionate about the sport. When you see the laundry scene you’ll know what I mean. ;)

Bec and Amanda are like so many women I know, searching for their footing as they navigate the turbulent waters of young adulthood, both professionally and personally. Been there!

But most of all I recognized Vera, age 91, living alone in her Manhattan apartment filled with memories of her activist life in the Communist, Progressive and anti-war movements. Just over a year ago I lost my grandmother Henrietta, who passed away a few weeks shy of her 91st birthday in her Manhattan apartment. She, like Vera, was incredibly active in socially progressive causes her whole life (though my Bobeh – which is the Yiddish word for grandmother – was a Democratic Socialist, not a Communist).

Being in rehearsals for this play has been a wonderfully resonant experience for me. In many ways, of course, Vera and my Bobeh differ. But Vera’s life and surroundings are so incredibly familiar to me that for these short weeks I’ve been able to feel like I’m back with my grandmother. I inherited a few prints and other pieces from her which we’re using on our set, which also makes me smile.

I hope this story of intergenerational connection will make you think about your own grandparents (and grandchildren, if you have them), and the ties that bind us all.