Cover art by Christopher Rubino

School of the Americas

José Rivera

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In the Bolivian jungle, Che Guevara is captured and held in a one-room schoolhouse. For two days neither the Bolivian President nor the U.S. State Department is able to decide Che’s fate. The young schoolteacher of the village insists that she be given permission to speak to the famous revolutionary. Her conversations with Che — based on historical fact — are the heart of the play.

Production Info

Cast: 6 total (2 female, 4 male)
Full Length Drama (about 100 minutes)
Single Set
Contemporary Costumes

Press Quotes

“José Rivera’s SCHOOL OF THE AMERICAS traces the last two days of the Argentine revolutionary’s life. The story comes from historical fact: When a feckless attempt to start an insurrection in Bolivia led to his capture, Che really was held for two days in tiny La Higuera while authorities decided his fate and really did talk to a young villager named Julia Cortes. As imagined by Rivera, their conversations are sometimes predictable — America is ‘the greatest enemy of mankind’ — but also contain surprising introspection. Che calls himself ‘a goddamn joke’ and ‘a small, failed, stupid man.’ No doubt addressing the audience, he declares, ‘Worship the struggle … don’t worship me.'” —Jeremy Carter, New York

“… Mr Rivera’s intimate play is something of a bookend to his screenplay for The Motorcycle Diaries, a coming-of-age movie about a young pre-political Che. In SCHOOL OF THE AMERICAS politics serve only as a backdrop to a story about Che’s encounter with a young teacher named Julia Cortes. Julia teaches at the schoolhouse where Che is being held, and after pleading with the Lieutenant to be let inside, she has a final conversation with the prisoner. Like COPENHAGEN and STUFF HAPPENS, this drama uses historical fact as a frame to pose intriguing questions about what might have happened …” —Jason Zinoman, The New York Times

About the Author


  • José Rivera

    José Rivera is an award-winning screenwriter and playwright. Mr. Rivera has won two Obie Awards for playwriting for MARISOL and REFERENCES TO SALVADOR DALI MAKE ME HOT, both produced at The Public Theater in New York. His plays THE PROMISE, EACH DAY DIES WITH SLEEP, CLOUD TECTONICS, THE STREET OF THE SUN, SUEÑO, SONNETS FOR AN OLD CENTURY, SCHOOL OF THE AMERICAS, BRAINPEOPLE, GIANTS HAVE US IN THEIR BOOK and THE HOUSE OF RAMON IGLESIA have been produced in theaters across the country and around the world. Plays-in-progress include THE LAST BOOK OF HOMER, HUMAN EMOTIONAL PROCESS, THE HOURS ARE FEMININE, a new translation of KISS OF THE SPIDERWOMAN and SCREAM FOR THE LOST ROMANTICS. ADORATION OF THE OLD WOMAN made its New York debut at INTAR Theatre in March 2014. Celestina, based on his play CLOUD TECTONICS, will mark his debut as a feature film director. Mr. Rivera has received awards from the Fulbright Arts Fellowship, the Whiting Foundation, the Kennedy Center, National Endowment for the Arts, the National Arts Club, New York Foundation for the Arts, the McKnight Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. Mr. Rivera's screenplay for The Motorcycle Diaries was nominated for a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar in 2005 making him the first Puerto Rican writer to be nominated for an Academy Award. Also nominated for a BAFTA and a Writers Guild Award, The Motorcycle Diaries won top writing awards in Spain and Argentina. His screenplay based on Jack Kerouac's On the Road premiered at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and was distributed nationally in the winter of 2013. His film Trade was the first film to premiere at the United Nations. He has story credit on the film The 33 and shares credit on Letters to Juliet. Other screenplays include The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Scott Rudin, producer); The State Boys Rebellion; Compositions in Black and White; Three Apples Fell From Heaven (Shekhar Kapur, director); Face Value; Riders on the Storm; American Rust; The Crown (Rodrigo Garcia, director); Vincent (Ben Foster, director); Patriotic Treason (Giancarlo Esposito, director); White Fang (Lance Acord, director); Deity; an untitled film based on the Korean film Failan (Andres Moore, director); and Even Silence Has an End. Television credits include an untitled HBO pilot, co-written and produced by Tom Hanks; The House of Ramon Iglesia; A.K.A. Pablo (Norman Lear, producer); The Eddie Matos Story; Eerie, Indiana (co-creator and producer); Goosebumps; Mayhem (Bob Cooper, producer); The Conquest (Ron Howard, producer); and Latino Roots, an untitled 10-hour limited series for HBO. Mr. Rivera made his film-acting debut playing himself in Margarita with a Straw. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Sundance Institute and has been a creative advisor for Screenwriting Labs in Utah, Jordan and India. A member of the LAByrinth Theatre Company and Ensemble Studio Theatre, he leads a weekly writing workshop in New York City, where he lives. In the works is his first novel, Love Makes the City Crumble.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 4/1/2007
Pages 80
ISBN 9780881453362

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:

World premiere in a co-production between the Joseph Papp Public Theater and Labyrinth Theater Company

The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
School of the Americas is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC


Upcoming and Recent Productions


5/7/2021 – 5/16/2021
The Union
Houston, TX