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Hispanic pride: ‘The Real James Bond … Was Dominican’ to premiere in ABQ

Christopher Rivas is in Albuquerque for the first time.

It’s a special trip, because Rivas is premiering his play “The Real James Bond … Was Dominican” at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

The show runs tonight through Sunday, Feb. 17.

“The NHCC was very adamant about having it premiere at the center,” he says during an interview in his Albuquerque hotel. “Of course, I was honored to collaborate with them on this. This play is something very special to me. It’s been a big part of my life for the last decade or so.”

Rivas grew up in Queens, N.Y., and as a child wouldn’t go without his Nerf gun.

Then he heard the true story of Porfirio Rubirosa, who was an actor-to-be and Dominican diplomat. He was also rumored to be a political assassin under Rafael Trujillo’s regime.

Rubirosa also served as Ian Fleming’s inspiration for James Bond.

“But that’s not what stood out to me,” Rivas says of the story. “As a young kid that was in acting, I wanted to see someone like me on screen. My heart was more broken than inspired. It helped me think about how might my life had been different if I had seen someone look like me. James Bond is so much more than a character. It’s a symbol of how we look at the character.”

Rivas wrote the article for the script in 2010, and he’s still working from a draft from 2014.

“I’ve been writing for a long time,” he says. “We’ve performed it twice in New York, and it’s getting a premiere here in Albuquerque.”

The piece is set to a live percussion score and immersive projections.

Rivas says the piece is a guide to love, sex, color, code-switching, whitewashing, success, fake-it-till-you-make-it, and the roller coaster of finding one’s true self.

“It’s stunning, and … I’m still learning from it,” he says. “The big thing in all my art, which I pride myself, is not about answers. It’s about questions. The audience and I go on a journey together. Most nights, we do a talk-back, and I consider that part of the show. What I’ve learned is that every single human being on the planet needs to tell their own story, so that no one else can tell it for them.”

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