Conditions: Tropical Tolstoy

The title on Anna in the Tropics, playing on Barrington Stage Company, not a person, but a book. And he’s an important role, thematically, narratively, and even physically. The book Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy’s love story of winter – crime, impunity, punishment. The setting, however, is 1920s Florida.

The book’s famous first line is, “All happy families are alike; “Each happy family is unhappy in its own right,” is unheard of in the play – although there are many other passages – but its meaning flows through the “tropical” relationship in Nilo’s Pulitzer-winning play Cruz.

It’s 1929 in Ybor City, Tampa’s Little Havana. The brothers Cheché and Santiago Alcalar operate a cigar factory where Santiago’s wife, two daughters and sons-in-law work with hand-rolling. habanos. At the dawn of the Great Depression, factories were closing, smokers were turning to cigarettes and machinery was coming into business.

But these concerns are only the source of the great event, the strength of the person and the relationships are as strong and complete as each other. telenovela – or Russian history.

It begins with the arrival of the new lector He is part of the dead family (see mechanization), men and women who read aloud to the workers while they roll a cigar, relieve pain and increase their information.

Juan Julián is awaited by three women – Santiago’s wife Ofelia and their two daughters, Conchita and especially Marela, who are full of emotion and love stories. But Cheché is not happy, worried about the unfair price and bitterness that his wife ran with the first one. lector

Selected reading is, of course, Anna Karenina (These Cubans are telling Kareninsidea). Soon, the thoughts and attitudes of his audience were affected, above all by the sexual triangle of the book. Dissatisfied with her unloving husband Palomo, Conchita, like the beautiful Anna, begins a relationship with the new interesting.

Tolstoyan themes run through Cruz’s prose of the book – progress vs. He doesn’t try for direct messages. Some important events are played out, others are neglected, and although the high crossbars in Justin Townsend’s set represent a railway trestle, there is no death-by-locomotive. Christopher Vergara’s 1920s summer white dresses are a stark contrast to Tolstoy’s winter furs.

The player is more interested in the idea of ​​self-narrative and role-playing or personal inquiry inspired by a compelling story. Marela thinks of herself as Anna reincarnated, and Palomo says that she is no weak as Karenin, while Conchita supports Tolstoy’s agenda.

This work is scheduled to go up in 2020, but then, you know… The hiatus that has been implemented has given an immediate sense of urgency to the work of Elena Araoz. The first part is led by a difficult time to expand and stabilize. However, when the pace slows down, so does the game. A party scene in the second act, to be suffused with controversy, is simply awful.

The individual actions, however, are very good. Alexis Cruz’s Cheché is a hot oven, all energy, passion, and violence. As Santiago, Gilbert Cruz is the opposite, a cautious and normal man whose gambling weakness gets him a debt to his brother that causes problems with his wife, played by the beautiful Blanca Camacho. (Their skepticism is a beautiful thing.)

Marina Pires is a bright Conchita, her body slowly rising to the lectortouching. Gabriela Saker’s Marela is the joy of youth and dreamy love (she keeps a picture of Valentino in her office). Wilson Jermaine Heredia not only plays the shy Palomo but he kicks things off with high energy as a fast-talking bookworm in a chicken where Santiago loses his package.

At first glance, Alex Rodriguez may be wrong as Juan Julián – not the handsome and good figure that we (and women) expect but a normal-looking man with a shy look. But he became like the book he was reading: an example by which others could formulate their own thoughts and ideas, and slowly go about putting them into practice. .

Barrington Stage is located in front of the multicultural theater in the area. After all black Not bad and mixed race ABCD, Anna in the Tropics a summer salsa that adds a Latin flavor to the mix.

Photos by Daniel Rader

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