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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    ‘Rum & Coke’ follows naive agent through Cuban crisis

    Rum & Coke follows naive agent through Cuban crisis

    “”He’s very idealistic, very young, very naïve,”” said Joe Hubbard, an acting sophomore, about his character Jake in the play “”Rum & Coke,”” a shadowy comedy about the Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961. The play returns to Arizona Repertory Theatre today after an initial run in June.

    The play follows Jake in his efforts to help a group of Cubans overthrow their ruler, Fidel Castro.

    “”The CIA recruits him and gets him to teach the Cuban rebels that are going to be shipped to Cuba,”” Hubbard said. “”It’s his job to teach them to transmit propaganda and get the underground support in Cuba to rally up against Castro.””

    When the operation takes a turn for the worse, it takes Jake’s outlook with it.

    “”Originally, he is so gung-ho about freeing the Cubans and liberating their country,”” Hubbard said. “”He gets very attached and befriends Miguel, one of the main Cuban players. By the time he realizes that what’s actually happening is not going to work at all, and the military support is not going to be there for the Cubans, he takes any measure he can to try and stop it, and try and save his Cuban friends.””

    Going through this journey with Jake is the biggest challenge about the play, Hubbard said.

    “”To experience that letdown, and to experience how small Jake really is,”” he said, “”both in terms of the grand-scheme operation, and how small he feels because it doesn’t feel like he can do anything right. That is probably the hardest thing to go through emotionally.””

    Although Jake’s emotional voyage is taxing, the role also has its perks.

    “”The best part is to feel that you’re a part of history,”” Hubbard said. “”He feels like he’s going to be a key part of history in liberating a third world country for the better.””

    “”From a personal point to view, the most exciting part would be literally working with the entire cast as a whole,”” he said. “”This really is a very strong ensemble piece. The cast is very, very talented, very, very fun to work with. They also tell the story so, so well, that it makes anything that any of us do that much easier.””

    The play is distinctive in a variety of ways, Hubbard said.

    “”Audiences could probably expect to not really know when to laugh because of the subject matter,”” he said. “”It is kind of a dark comedy. Sometimes I get the impression that they’re almost afraid to laugh, but it is funny.””

    The play also includes an integrated history lesson, but don’t let that scare you away.

    “”Some people may be turned off by the fact that you have to know about the Bay of Pigs, but the play sets up what you need to know ahead of time,”” Hubbard said.

    “”I think another reason (the audience) would enjoy it is because of the cast as a whole,”” Hubbard said. “”It’s very conversational, it’s very real. The audience will really get the feel that they are a fly on the wall, watching a true event take place, and watching the key players who are responsible for, in the long run, the downfall of the operation.””

    “”Rum & Coke”” will play at the Marroney Theater Sept. 2–Sept. 13. For more information, visit

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