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The Boston Globe

Theater & art

Pedro Reyes dissects the war on drugs

Pedro Reyes is laughing now, circling and high-fiving with the more than 50 high school students gathering for a rehearsal at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts earlier this week. It may feel like an icebreaking exercise at summer camp, but “Pharmasphere,” the partially improvised show he’s preparing with the kids, was inspired by the darkest of experiences in his native Mexico.

He has lost friends and relatives to violence he says was directly connected to the war on drugs. That campaign, coined during the Nixon administration and driven for decades by the US government’s attempt to fight the national and international drug trades, has, he says, flooded his country with illegal guns. “Pharmasphere,” being premiered Friday night in the MFA’s Shapiro Family Courtyard, will feature teens from area schools as well as unrehearsed participants from the audience. Reyes calls them “spect-actors.”

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