Anna in the Tropics

Stetson University begins its 113th season with the Pulitzer-Prize-winning play Anna in the Tropics written by Cuban American playwright Nilo Cruz and directed by Stetson Theatre Arts Professor Ken McCoy. The show will take place September 27th-30th in Stetson’s Second Stage Theatre (located inside the Museum of Art, DeLand).

Set in Tampa’s Ybor City in 1929, the play centers on a family-owned cigar factory, where cigars are still hand-rolled and the immigrant workers’ labor is eased by a lector (Spanish for “reader”). Traditionally, the lector was hired with contributions from the workers’ salaries, to read to them while they worked from a variety of sources: newspaper and magazine articles, stories of the day, and occasionally from works of literature. For many women and men of the immigrant working class, this was the main form of their education.

In Anna in the Tropics, a dashing young lector is hired to read to the women at the factory. As he reads from Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, the book’s scandalous yet romantic story inspires some of the workers to follow their own desires, breaking the strict boundaries of tradition, religion, and society. The resulting bliss and catastrophe in their relationships is played out on the eve of this disappearing tradition, the replacement of human workers with machines, and the looming Great Depression.

According to Dr. McCoy, “Anna in the Tropics is a play about the cultural clash many immigrants face in trying to preserve their traditions in a new world. It’s about what love and desire means, and what fidelity in marriage means. Ultimately, it’s about the challenges forced upon human beings when they question their own place in a changing world, how some grow with change and others are destroyed by it.”

The Cast includes: Leo Abate (Eliades), Noah Belachew (Palomo), Logan Castaneda (Cheche), Aliya Cruise (Conchita), Drake Cunningham (Juan Julian), Joseph Dallas (Santiago), Pauline Sala (Marela), and Kiara Santiago (Ofelia).

Warning: this play contains adult subject matter, with scenes involving implied sex. It also contains violence that includes gunshots.

Performances for Anna in the Tropics are September 27-29, Thursday through Saturday evenings at 8pm, with a matinee Sunday, September 30 at 3pm.

Stetson Theatre Arts’ Second Stage is located inside the Museum of Art, 600 N. Woodland Blvd., adjacent to the DeLand campus. Free parking. Admission for this production is $12 for adults, and $10 for seniors and students. Stetson students, faculty and staff are admitted free with a valid ID. Tickets will be available at the door and reserved tickets must be picked up 30 minutes prior to the start of the show. Box office will be open one hour prior to curtain. For information or reservations, call Stetson Theatre’s “Second Stage” box office at (386) 822-8700 beginning September 27.

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