CUARENTA 7 OCHO (48) – Written and Directed by Anthony J. Garcia.  Produced by Su Teatro Cultural and Performing Arts Center (721 Santa Fe Drive, Denver) through March 23.  Tickets available at 303-296-0219 or 

As a piece of nearly forgotten history, Tony Garcia’s script sheds light on those events without providing answers, as he himself confesses, “just speculation.”  As a theatrical evening, the same script entertains and supposes an interesting scenario at what “might” have happened back in 1974. 

In May of that year, in an effort to have their grievances heard, a group of Mexican American students took over an office building in Boulder on campus.  Anticipating being arrested and being able to make public statements when that happened, they were disappointed when the school administration basically ignored them and didn’t try to make them leave.  After two weeks and graduation which left the campus deserted, the stand-off was at a draw and the protesters began talking about standing down.  On the 27th of May, the night was shattered by the sound of a bomb going off near Chautauqua Park.  Three young Hispanic students were killed when their car exploded.  48 hours later, a second bomb was detonated in another part of town also killing three Hispanic students.  Theories abounded about how that could have happened.  Deliberate sabotage of their cars or accidental detonations by students planning their own acts of rebellion?? 

Tony’s script supposes one possible theory about what might have occurred in those 48 hours through the eyes of four students involved in those activities.  An act of kindness pulls one female student into the maelstrom of activity around these events and the story spills out.  Told in the language of the young and the imagery of the 70’s, this unsolved mystery gets a re-telling.  

Four young actors – Paola Miranda, Lucinda Lazo, Camilo Leura, and Brian Sanchez – illustrate the cross-section of students involved in the incident. Rosa is the novice, brought into the story almost by accident.  But because of her non-participation previously, she was the voice of the innocent to whom theories and history had to be explained.  Sylvia is the firebrand female – the voice of the angry.  Miguel is the intellectual one who knows the history and talks like he knows exactly what’s happening and how it’s going to end, if only everyone would listen to him.  Salcedo is angry but mostly just wants to get high.  They are abetted by three other characters who act as a sort of Greek chorus, adding to the story with impassioned speeches and music at graduation and memorials.  Davey Gonzalez, Nina Marti, and Natalie Fuentes fulfill their roles as the voice of the reasonable but angry students well.  You could see them becoming the negotiators as the protest winds down. 

From a purely historical standpoint, Su Teatro has upped its game in terms of technical support of its productions.  The evening is graced with projections that ominously mark the passage of time with periodic day and hour announcements projected against the walls accompanied by a ticking clock that creates a sense of anticipation.  Scenes in the second act take place in a forest clearing made realistic by a three dimensional yet surreal representation of trees with light filtering through to create an ominous “what’s going to happen in the woods?” kind of feeling.  The explosions are authentic and startling. 

 The twist at the end was kept a surprise even from the actors during rehearsals so that they would not inadvertently give it away earlier during the production.  Only days before opening, the last six pages of the script were given to them to learn. 

So is this what was actually going on?  Or was there something else operating behind the scenes?  You have now entered the Twilight Zone. 

A WOW factor of 8.5!! 

1 thought on “CUARENTA 7 OCHO

  1. Enrique Robideaux

    Hi Beki, This is a test comment to set up a new user today. We’re getting a new “Captcha” plugin to prevent the bogus users. Should be installed in the next few days (I hired GoDaddy to do it). I’ll create another bogus user after that to test the plugin. And then I’ll have two bogus accounts to put comments in with 🙂 BTW – Thanks for writing up this show. Now I want to go see this play! – Eric


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