Category Archives: Theater

Anna in the Tropics by Nilo Cruz

Anna in the Tropics by Nilo Cruz

Theater Communications Group, New York, 2003

Winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Borrowed from the library.

Oh, how I would love to see this on stage.  Cruz has written a lush, steamy play that brings to life a time and place in history and is brimming with human need and desire.

Set in Tampa in 1929, the story takes place in a Cuban-American  factory where cigars are still rolled by hand and “lectors” read novels and stories aloud to the workers.  A new “lector” arrives from Cuba and chooses  to read “Anna Karenina.”  His audience approves of this choice but the longer he reads the more the novel becomes entwined in the workers lives.  Tolstoy and the tropics prove to be an unsettling combination.

The words of this play are as rich as the music of Cuba.  Bright, rhythmic, sensual.   I could hear soulful guitar and staccato percussion as I read.  It is fascinating, reading a talented playwright, the words create the scenes, sounds and atmosphere in my head.  Nilo Cruz is a master and I plan on reading more of his work.  And, if at all possible, seeing his work on stage.

I have been considering reading the new translation of Anna Karenina over the summer.  Reading Anna in the Tropics has added weight to this idea.


Filed under New Authors 2010, Plays, Review, Theater

Topdog/Underdog by Suzan-Lori Parks

Topdog/Underdog by Suzan-Lori Parks

Theater Communications Group, New York, 2001

This Pulitzer prize-winning  play is the story of two brothers named by their father Lincoln and Booth.  The names were supposed to be funny.

It is a wrenching story of how these two, with a difficult shared history, try to live together, making every effort to survive and rise above poverty. Parks constantly demands that we pay attention to the opposites,  older/younger, smarter/slower, black/white, mythic history/present reality.  She asks if there is ever a place of meeting, of balance.  It is  a  difficult story, intense and very dark.

Reading this play reminded me of how much I love live theater.
I want to thank Vasilly for bringing this to my attention.  I had wanted to see the local production and missed it.


Filed under New Authors 2010, Plays, Theater