Ghosts Of Bogotá


Ghosts of Bogotá
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A heartbreaking dark comedy about three siblings returning to their parents’ birth country to bury their grandfather…who no one will mourn. Ghosts of Bogotá is both a universal story about family secrets and a unique tale about the immigrant experience of never feeling fully at home in a country that can claim you.


Diana Burbano’s Ghosts of Bogotá is the story of three siblings, now late 20s to late 30s, who return to their parents’ birth country when their grandfather dies. Lola, the eldest, is a successful TV showrunner and a basket case. Sandy, the middle sister, is a doctor with very little sense of humor, and Bruno, the baby, is a pansexual computer nerd.

The trio arrive to the small apartment where their grandfather Saúl lived and died. The sisters were sexually abused by their late relative but feel a sense of duty to bury him.

Their grandmother’s ghost Nena appears, and Lola confesses that she is dying of breast cancer that has metastasized. Nena introduces Lola to Jesus, manifest as a head in a jar. He tries to convince Lola not to die. At least not yet.

Saúl’s ghost shows up to wreak havoc. He’s angry because, due to circumstances he doesn’t understand, he is stuck in the apartment.

Sandy enters carrying a mysterious suitcase that, when opened, reveals that all their family’s tidy stories were based on lies. This is too much for Lola, who escapes with the Jesus head, and Nena leaves Sandy to deal with the raging ghost of Saúl.
Sandy is terrified of Saúl until she discovers that she can cause him great pain. She becomes drunk on her power.

Lola sits on top Monserraté, a sacred mountain in Bogotá, with Jesus and Nena, trying to figure out why her life has been such a failure and why Nena is still stuck on the earthly plane. Everyone is waiting on Saúl to leave but he’s too afraid of the devil to go.

Back at the apartment, Sandy tries to decide what to do with Saúl. He tries to get Sandy to feel compassion for his own difficult upbringing, but Sandy is having none of it. The cycle of abuse needs to stop, and if she has to destroy his soul, she will do it, even if she destroys her own in the process.

The day of the funeral. Bruno has bribed the priest, and everything should be going according to plan, but Lola decides to give a speech and Saúl doesn’t get buried after all.

Lola and Sandy decide to throw Saúl’s ashes into the Rio Magdalena and let him fend for himself. Sandy checks Lola out and tells her she’s not as sick as she thinks she is, and should live. They go back to the US, with the ghost of Saúl in an agony of indecision. In the final moment, he decides to leave the apartment, ending his hold on the family.


Wickedly humorous at times, gut wrenching at others.

—NPR (KRCB Radio)


Lola: Eldest sibling. Dramatic, overbearing. Successful TV showrunner. Not into sympathy. (Late 30s, F)

Sandy: Middle sibling. No nonsense, practical, brutally honest, but has a very squishy center. (30s, F)

Bruno: The baby. Hip. American-born. Likes his pleasures. (20s, M)

Nena: Their grandmother's ghost. Funny, bubbly. Doubles Teresa. (Any age, F)

Teresa: The young woman who cared for their dead grandfather. Smart. Manipulative. Speaks Spanish. (Late teens, F)

Jesus: A creepy Jesus head in a jar. A puppet, or a disembodied voice or??? (Any)

Saúl: Their grandfather's ghost. Very, very charming. (Any age, M)

Casting Note: Sandy is pretty bilingual, Lola less so. Nena, Saúl, and Tere should be played by bilingual actors. All the actors are Latinx. Jesus if he is cast as a human should be Afro-Latinx, or Black.

Setting: The play takes place in Bogotá, Colombia as seen through the eyes of three uber-Americanized Colombian siblings. An apartment, a cathedral, Monserraté. Bogotá, Colombia

Performance Royalties for AMATEUR and EDUCATIONAL Groups, please fill out an application for your personalized quote. 

Performance Royalties for PROFESSIONAL Theaters will be quoted as a box office percentage, with a minimum guarantee based on ticket prices and theater particulars. Please fill out an application for your personalized quote.

Authorized Materials must be purchased from Stage Rights as a part of your licensing agreement (see Materials). 

Billing responsibilities, pertinent copyright information, and playwrights' biographies are available in the show rider that comes with your license agreement.

“In AlterTheater’s Ghosts of Bogotá, playwright Diana Burbano marshals her medium’s superpowers with a magician’s resourcefulness.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“Wickedly humorous at times, gut wrenching at others.” —NPR (KRCB Radio)

“Diana Burbano delightfully upends our expectations, avoiding the pitfalls of convention, by incorporating the techniques of magic realism, a wicked dry wit, and metaphysical speculation, while remaining in touch with the disturbing actualities of her story.” —Theatre Storm

“The complex, well-realized characters, bilingual script, and the incorporation of the supernatural along with great humor make this play something quite special.” —Theatre Storm

Authorized Materials must be purchased from Stage Rights as a part of your licensing agreement. Your materials will be sent to you digitally by your Licensing Representative. 

The Authorized Materials/Production Package for Ghosts of Bogotá are all fulfilled digitally and consist of: 

Acting Edition

Stage Manager Script

Director’s Script