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Play recounts true story of teen’s gang experience

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The Kupferberg Center for the Arts presents the Off-Broadway production of “De Novo,” the tragic true story of a teenage gang member and his attempt to start a new life.

De Novo is a legal term which means to begin anew and the Moon Theater Company’s 2010 play is based on real immigration court transcripts, interviews and letters from the case of Edgar Chocoy, a 14-year-old Guatemalan whose only family was a gang.

After realizing that he would rather play soccer and video games than stealing and beating people, Chocoy wanted out. The gang, however, would not let him leave without paying a pricey fine, which he did not have.

In an attempt at a new life, Chocoy moved to Los Angeles, but was denied asylum by an immigration judge and was soon sent back to Guatemala, only to be murdered 17 days after his return.

The play will be at Long Island City High School, 14-30 Broadway, on April 12 at 6:45 p.m., and Elmhurst Hospital Center, 79-01 Broadway, from April 18 to April20 at 7 p.m. The April 19 performance will be in Spanish.

Although the play is free, reservations must be made by calling the Kupferberg Center box office at 718-793-8080.

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