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Anna in the Tropics - Acting Edition Paperback – January 1, 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 72 pages
  • Publisher: Dramatists Play Service, Inc. (January 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822220008
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822220008
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #476,689 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

It is a story about love, family, and change.
In "Anna in the Tropics," Nilo Cruz emulates events occuring within the story by segments of "Anna Karenina" read aloud by the lector.
Tyler Greene
The three main reasons it's not very good: The plot is feeble.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
I saw this play on Broadway and later directed a staged reading of it in a University setting... it's really a lovely piece and grows on you the more you work with it. There are no weak parts -- seven strong characters all have significant roles (Eliades is a cameo, but can be doubled by Palomo). The setting (a cigar factory in 1929 Tampa) is unusual, as is the situation (the lector reads classic literature to the workers as they hand-roll cigars). While some of the script uses phrases that suggest classic Latino "magical realism", the real magic is in the experience of a group of people becoming lost in a piece of literature, as the Russia of Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina" lives again in Florida. There is an abundance of romance along with social realism, as the cigar-rolling machines threaten a traditional way of life.
This play is best performed in an intimate space -- I recommend Spanish guitar music for the scene changes and comfortable seats for the audience to relax and soak up the language and Caribbean atmosphere of this poetic drama. It works on a lot of different levels and would be great to read in a classroom or use as the basis of a term paper. (I'm writing one now.)
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on October 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
Winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Anna in the Tropics recreates the Cuban-American community in Ybor City, Florida, in 1929,with its color, its cockfights, its close relationships, and its love of romance. Santiago and his wife Ofelia own a cigar factory, where the sometimes illiterate workers roll cigars and, to keep from becoming bored, hire a "lector" to read to them. Romantic stories spice up their lives, and since they have finished Wuthering Heights, they now look forward to a new novel, Anna Karenina, read by a new lector, Juan Julian.

Conchita, one of the workers whose marriage with Palomo has grown stale, soon finds herself reenacting Anna Karenina, as she has a passionate affair with Juan Julian, and then tells Palomo about it. Marela, daughter of Santiago and Ofelia, also fantasizes about Juan Julian. Reality intrudes on romance, however, when Santiago's gambling on cockfights results in partial ownership of the factory going to Cheche, his half-brother, who now wants to introduce machines to speed up production. He also wants to eliminate the lector, to the workers' further dismay.

In language that is often lyrical and sometimes fanciful, the action unfolds, with discussions evolving about the nature and importance of literature, the enduring values of their culture, the importance of love, and the possible effects of "progress" on traditional values. The characters, though not fully drawn and sometimes too obviously following plot lines of Anna Karenina, are, nevertheless, interesting and unusual as they try to do the best they can during trying times.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By al-taaliba jadeed [the new student] on March 5, 2004
Format: Paperback
I was quite excited to read this play after hearing the playwright speak and read excerpts from it. However, I found out that this is a play better suited to be seen than read. Reading it cannot possibly capture the rhythm of the Cuban characters speech that Cruz has aptly recreated. [I should know, as I live in Miami] Cruz had done a lot of research on Ybor City, but it seemed to not come through as vividly as one might think. [I've been to the charming little city] Sure, one could easily find historical data that points to the lectors and Cuban cigar makers: but that is information easily found and known. Still, there are lines that are just plain beautiful and make the reader stop and say "Hmmm..." But in this writer's opinion, Cruz' "Beauty of the Father" is much more poetic, deeper, and beautiful. Maybe the Pulitzer should have gone to that one.
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Format: Paperback
Nilo Cruz, Anna in the Tropics (Theatre Communications Group, 2002)

I've been trying, on and off, to review this for almost three months now, and I haven't been able to get anything to stick. My original idea was to write something about what a fine period piece it is, but it kept ringing hollow, since I'm not old enough to have been around during the period in question. It feels right, but if I've learned anything in forty years, it's not to trust my sense of nostalgia for things that occurred before I was born. (And the more my daughter's generation embraces the seventies, the more I have that reinforced in my head.) Then came ideas for a long missive about the parallel between the plot here and Anna Karenina, the novel read by the lector in this play, but that seemed far too obvious to spend a great deal of time on; it is, after all, the mechanism that moves the play. I eventually came to the realization that this is so far outside my normal sphere of experience that I don't really have much of anything to say about it except what I felt. I enjoyed reading it, though I do think it got heavy-handed at times. Cruz id very good at letting the surface story mask what's really going on; most of the actual action of this play goes on just to the left of the stage, as it were, and we're left to interpret things ourselves. I find this to be a very good thing. It is overshadowed at times by that heavy-handedness, which is just as much a paradox as it sounds, so I ended up with conflicting feelings. But the fact that I'm still thinking about it three months and almost one hundred fifty books later certainly says something about its power to stay with the reader long after the cover is closed. ***
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