Anna in the Tropics
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Anna in the Tropics

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  578 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Winner of the 2003 Pulitizer Prize for Drama

." . . there are many kinds of light.
The light of fires. The light of stars.
The light that reflects off rivers.
Light that penetrates through cracks.
Then there's the type of light that reflects off the skin.
"--Nilo Cruz, "Anna in the Tropics"

This lush romantic drama depicts a family of cigar makers whose loves and lives are played...more
ebook, 112 pages
Published September 1st 2003 by Theatre Communications Group
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You know what makes a play great to me?

NOT having 22-year-old main characters pee themselves for no obvious reason other than excitement.

"I couldn't hold it in!"
Feb 06, 2013 Lori rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lori by: Myron
Shelves: plays
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 07, 2012 Bethanie rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: anyone who loves the story of "Anna Karenina"
Shelves: textbooks
Let's just say it right now: I LOVE "Anna Karenina." It took me two weeks to read, but it was fantastic and I still consider it one of my favorite books.
Now for this little play.
I had to read it for a literature class, so my mind naturally goes to, "If you stand on your head and look at this aspect, how can it be interpreted?" The highlight of the book, as we discussed in class, was the effect of literature on both Anna in Tolstoy's novel and the characters in the play. Each felt some deep-down...more
Robert Beveridge
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 b...more
A beautiful script, which I have not yet had the pleasure of seeing staged. One gets that feeling that for Anna In The Tropics, as for Cruz' later work Lorca In A Green Dress, visuals, sound, and general ambience are as necessary to the storytelling as the dialogue. The text of the script provides a sound but naked framework for what should be a colorful, rhythmic, and sensual play, leaving open the possibility for a wide range of artistic interpretation.

For someone who knows how universal Tols...more
Zi Ying
I would never have known about the occupation as a lector if I haven't read this play. Fascinating. The storyline intertwines with the book Anna Karenina so closely and perfectly. It is not the first time being done, but I think just the contrast with the climate (Anna Karenina is set in Russia, where it's cold, and this story is set in Florida, the tropics, hence the title) gives it a clever twist. I love the ending!! Interesting play, took me to a world I've never known before!
Naci Kuloglu
It was okay. The story was good and it applies to our times, but the characters were extremely unbelievable. This really hurt the play as a whole.
I didn't like it. I thought the story was weak and the character development non-existant. I wasn't engaged with the characters, therefore i didn't care what happened to them.

The resolution between Santiago and Cheche was dumb - he got a loan, and that was it? Did Cheche rape Marela? What happened to Cheche after murdering Juan Julian?

I was disappointed, as I expected a Pulitzer Prize winning play to be much better. I've read and seen much better plays by Cuban play-wrights, IMO, much more dese...more
Set in 1929 in a Cuban-American cigar factory, a new lector arrives to read Anna Karenina to the workers. His arrival touches off a debate of the old versus the new as the struggling cigar factory looks for new ways to keep the old ways alive. The passions and longings of the employees come to life under the words of Tolstoy.

A beautifully written play. Poetic and intriguing. However, in a reading there were many more questions asked than answered, and I wonder if a production would help smooth t...more
There's rich stuff to work with here: unique setting, multiple three-dimensional characters who all want different things, and a connection to little-known history that plays out beautifully on stage. I enjoy the poetry in Cruz' dialogue though wonder if it gets a little self-indulgent here and there.

Still, there's a lot more good than bad here. I'd love to see this play designed and produced.
Not bad. I find the whole idea fascinating, even though the romance parts seem a little forced and cliche. I'm wondering if anyone on the Pulitzer committee ever thinks "Dude this is totally trying to please us. Obscure history, plight of ethnic folk. This is totally baiting us." Probably not. Anna in the Tropics doesn't suck, but Take Me Out should have won instead that year.
Margaret Breidenbaugh
I have both read and performed in an ensemble production of this moving script about a family who is struggling to maintain a cigar factory in Ybor City as new rolling machines threaten to replace the tradition of hand-rolling. The plot is brilliantly set against the tragedy of "Anna Karenina". The characters are both believable and colorful.
Nathan Eilers
This is a gripping drama about a family in a cigar factory. When a new lector reads Anna Karenina to the factory workers, the people's lives begin to parallel those of the characters in that famous novel. I enjoyed how Cruz structures this play and the complex characters he creates. It's a good read; I read it in under two hours.
I first read this almost a decade ago and enjoyed it, but then saw a terrible production that I have been unable to forget. In passing, I mentioned to a friend that I enjoyed the play but hated the production. So I decided to revisit it and was pleased to discover I enjoyed it as much this time as before.
Nilo Cruz’s ‘Anna of the Tropics’ (awarded the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Drama) is a story of a family in Tampa, FL in 1929 who hires a lector to read to the cigar rollers in the family’s cigar factory. The handsome lector arrives from Cuba, reads ‘Anna Karenina’, and romance and infidelity ensue.
I felt the ending was weak. There were a few unresolved questions surrounding Marela's behavior in the final scenes, and Juan Julian's character is hard to assess. The setting was nice, as a descendent of Italian Ybor cigar rollers I enjoyed the nod to our local history.
Set in 1929 Florida in a Cuban-American cigar factory, when a new lecturer reads out loud from Anna Karenina, what unfolds is the change in the idea of the American Dream. Nilo Cruz intertwines tradition and the present well in this page-turning play.
Disappointingly little was done with a premise that seemed not only wholly original but also full of promise. The Pulitzer may have been mis-awarded in this case, or else American drama is simply a weak field.
Jason Tzintzun
Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. The emotions that Cruz is able to make me feel in the span of sixty pages goes to show what one can do with the spoken word. I want to see this play so terribly bad now.
Beautiful! I wanted a little more from the ending, however. I'm not sure what, but I felt it ended too quickly. Maybe I would feel differently if I was seeing it done rather than reading it.
QUick read but very good...story about Cuban cigar makers in Tampa who are inspired (for romance, mischief, drama etc) by lectores (readers) who read to them while they roll cigars--
Read this for a college class. It was ok, I guess. Not too keen on reading plays. I'm gonna have to wait for my professor to tell me why it was a good.
judi morgan
This is a play but provides such an interesting peak into the culture in Cuba among the cigar rollers...the Anna in the title is Anna Karenina...
Beautiful writing, framed around an absolutely fascinating historical arrangement between workers and management of cigar factories.
Sue Davis
Lectors in cigar factories. About the passing of a whole tradition. Lots of parallels with Anna Karenina.
Such a GREAT story! Things come around in a wonderfully heartwarming way. Good parallels to Tolstoy
April Monteith
Quick easy read but lacked depth and I was disappointed in the ending.
amanda jane
May 31, 2007 amanda jane rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: cultural enrichment seekers
Shelves: plays
making the connection between cuban cigar rollers and anna karenina...awesome.
A thoughtful, sexy and ultimately entertaining read.
I really need to read Anna Karenina now.
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