Carmen Rivera


This title is now available worldwide.


by Carmen Rivera

Full-length Drama

THE DOWNFALL OF RAFAEL TRUJILLO explores the last five years of the life of the Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo. He ruled the Dominican Republic with an iron fist for 31 years. The play begins with the infamous kidnapping and murder of Professor Jesús Galíndez and follows the resulting fall-out, which leads to the downfall of the Trujillo regime. It is the story of a man whose desire for absolute power poisoned his humanity and terrorized a nation.

“Carmen Rivera meticulously pieces together fragments of [Trujillo’s] downfall and dramatizes them in such a way that we think not only about the historical context of his late rule in the 1950-60s, but also about how those same behaviors in political power and American influence still occur today the world over.“
—New York Theatre Review

“THE DOWNFALL OF RAFAEL TRUJILLO offers not only insight into its title character and Dominican history but also a reminder of the USA’s long history of supporting dictators as convenient, as well as some reminders for American audiences too about cults of personality and family dynasties that we would do well to consider. But any admonitions that THE DOWNFALL OF RAFAEL TRUJILLO does deliver, it does so wrapped in an enthralling theatrical experience.”
—Thinking Theatre NYC

“Carmen Rivera courageously brings us face to face with the horrors of state violence and terror so that we may yearn and fight for JUSTICE.”

—Iris Morales, Activist, Filmmaker, and Publisher

Cast of Characters
(2W, 6M)

General Rafael Leonídas TRUJILLO Molina — late 60s, Dictator of the Dominican Republic from 1930-1961; Ruled with an iron fist and was assassinated by his own men.
Dr. Joaquín BALAGUER — 40s, Vice-President and 4th Puppet President of the Dominican Republic; Was suspected to have been working with the United States to topple Trujillo, but was never proven.
DIPLOMAT — 40s, American Representative in the Dominican Republic; Working behind the scenes to tame Trujillo’s increasingly aggressive and violent nature.
Don PACO Escribano — 30s, Radio Personality, who masked his criticism of Rafael Trujillo in jokes and innuendo with his radio show El Foro Público. He was an out gay man in the 1950s and was known for dressing in drag.
Johnny ABBES — 40s, The head of the Military Intelligence Service; Rafael Trujillo’s right-hand man.
The LOVER — 30s-40s, Trujillo’s lover, She is a composite of various lovers he was known to have had.
Doña MARIA — late 50s, Trujillo’s wife; She was Trujillo’s equal in intelligence and cunning. She ran his businesses and managed their fortune.

Dr. Jesús de GALÍNDEZ — 40s, A Spanish professor, who wrote his doctoral thesis on the dysfunction and cruelty of the Trujillo dictatorship.
SOLDIER — 20s.
SENATOR — 40s.
Porfirio RUBIROSA — 50s, Very famous Dominican Playboy, who had ties to the American government.

Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic.
During the years from 1956 to 1961.


Carmen Rivera

Carmen Rivera holds an MA in Playwriting and Latin American Theatre from New York University. Her OBIE-Award winning play La Gringa, just celebrated its’ 27th year anniversary in repertory at Repertorio Español. It is now the longest running Spanish language play in Off-Broadway history. Carmen co-wrote, with Cándido Tirado, Celia: The Life and Music of Celia Cruz, (HOLA Award 2008, Outstanding Achievement in Playwriting), which played Off-Broadway at New World Stages and toured Florida, Chicago, Tenerife, Canary Islands and the Centro de Bellas Artes (Center for the Fine Arts) in Puerto Rico.

Other Off-Broadway productions include: The Downfall of Rafael Trujillo (2015 - ATI Award - Best Production); La Lupe: My Life, My Destiny (2002 ACE Award – Best Production); Julia de Burgos: Child of Water; To Catch The Lightning (1997 Nomination ACE Award – Best Production); The Next Stop (INTAR / Repertorio  Español); Under The Mango Tree (INTAR). 

Other works include: The Magic of the Salsa Kingdom, with director/choreographer, Maria Torres; Riding The Bear; The Loves of our Lives; The Next Cycle; Betty’s Garage; Ghosts in Brooklyn; ameRICAN; Delia’s Race; Plastic Flowers; The Power of Words; and Caravan of Death which have appeared at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM); Teatro Circulo; La Mama E.T.C; The Women’s Project and Productions; SOHO Rep; New Georges; New Perspectives Theatre; Martice Enterprises; Nuyorican Poet’s Café; Theatre for a New City; National Public Radio (NPR); City Lights Youth Theatre; Urban Theater Company in Chicago; Centro de Bellas Artes, El Ateneo and Teatro Tapia in San Juan, Puerto Rico and in theatre festivals in New York, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, England and Russia. She has also participated at the Lark Playwrights Center -- Mexico/US Exchange program, as a translator.

Carmen is a Founding Member and Co-Executive Director of E.P.P. (Educational Play Productions), which brings plays that deal with social issues into the public schools. She teaches Playwriting at The New School and is also a Teacher Artist with Manhattan Theatre Club.